A 52-year-old man has not only been the talk of every maths and science student in Soshanguve, he has also been the pride of his friends and family.
Johannes Mathenje, born in Soshanguve, gives maths and science tutoring classes at his home due to Covid-19.
Before the pandemic, Mathenje gave classes in schools around Soshanguve. He said he has always loved science.
Mathenje said his dream was to become a dentist or an engineer, but little did he know he was destined to do more for his community.
Before he started the tutoring programme, he said he worked at an IT company with his late brother.
After the company collapsed in 2011, he decided to start a community project. The main focus of the project was on mathematics and physics.
This project was inspired by another project that he was a part of when he was still studying at the Medical University of South Africa (Medunsa), now known as Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU).
“I started the programme in 2012 with two of my other colleagues after we saw that we could make a positive contribution to our community,” Mathenje elaborated.
“We have reached out to various areas in Soshanguve and we plan to go to more high schools.”
He said the MRM-Scientific programme has reached out to many schools around Soshanguve, including block L, block F and block B.
They also had classes at Soshanguve Technical High School and some at the Tshwane University of Technology.
Mathenje has had help from the lecturers from the University of Pretoria (UP).
He preferred working with teachers/lecturers only because he knows they have an advanced level of education and would be able to provide in-depth information for maths and engineering.
He said this also reassures his students and their parents that they get only the best form of education and training.
Steven Aphane and his wife, Refilwe, who have been friends with Mathenje for over a decade said that he has always given hope to the children in Soshanguve.
“He has always been great in maths and science and he has a great passion for teaching,” said Steven.
“His learners always come back with great matric results and to thank him for the work he has done. He truly has found his purpose,” Refilwe added.
Today, Mathenje has a BSC Honours degree in mathematical and statistics (Medunsa), a diploma in application development (IBM Advanced Career Education), two certificates in programming and one in networking (Unisa).
He wants to reach out to more areas in Soshanguve in the near future.
He has plans to collaborate with local businesses to help with his science projects with his students.
He also wishes to work with more science students from the University of Pretoria to encourage community contribution and also encourage his students.