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June 7th, 2005

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The Soweto Schools Go Project

The Soweto Schools Go Project is probably one of South African Go’s greatest success stories. I have retrieved an old copy of their website, and have added all the relevant information here. Unfortunately, I don’t know whether this project is still active or not. Click here to see the old copy of the website (with links to an old copy of the SAGA website).

An enterprising Dobsonville (Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa) resident, Sello Leopeng, aided by Kagiso Mampe, began teaching Go to schoolchildren at several Dobsonville schools. With the headmasters’ agreement, otherwise unused 2-hour sessions with the standard 3 classes (11-year-olds) were used to teach the children. Sello and Kagiso’s efforts have been largely of their own initiative and for little or no compensation.

Help and/or support has been received from:

* COUNT – Co-operative Organisation for the Upgrading of Numeracy Training. See COUNT’s endorsement of the value of Go in education.
* The Anglo American and de Beers Chairman’s Fund
* ABB (S.A.) Ltd.
* South African Go Association (SAGA), and various individual Go players.
* The Wits Black Schools Partnership Program

After a visit to the Dobsonville Go centre by professionals Konagai (7p) and Izumitani (7p), and a subsequent article on the project in a Japanese Go weekly magazine, a retired banker and teacher from the Nihon Ki-in, Mr. Haruki Kagohashi (3d), volunteered to assist with the project at his own expense by coming to teach in Soweto for a month. This happened in August and September 1997.

Mr. Kagohashi donated 30 boards and 50 sets of stones, plus a fine high quality set, to the schools project. He lived with Sello in Dobsonville and gave lessons daily at the schools – and after hours at the Dobsonville Go Centre.

His very generous contribution of his time and gifts has made a great impact on the Soweto project: an interview with Asahi Shimbun Africa chief, and some filming, may give some exposure to his contribution.

Also part of the SSGP was the Dobsonville Schools Tournament held in November 1997.

In 1998, the school program was started using a method that we saw from the American Go Association, the ‘capturing game’, which is making progress.

Higher Primary Schools involved in the project in 1998:

Sello Leopeng Kagiso Mampe
Tuesday Dr Mary Malahlela HPS Roman Catholic School
Wednesday Usinaliso HPS Ithembalihle HPS
Thursday Senyamo HPS Boikanyo HPS
Friday Samuel Mangala HPS Makhoarane HPS

Posted by Sipho as at 4:33 PM, No Comments »