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The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in our country was reported on the 5th of March 2020. The mass media disclosed that a 38 year old male arrived back from Italy into South Africa with his wife and a group of ten other people. Further information shared was that he consulted a private general practitioner with symptoms of fever, a sore throat, headache and a cough. This consultation was made on the 7th of March, we were told.


I had just been elected as the Chairperson of JORETA Diepkloof Area three months before the onset of this deadly infectious disease, caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus as diagnosed by healthcare scientists.

On the morning of the 14th of March 2020, we woke up to the death notice of one of our own, Ms Elizabeth Molewa (not COVID related). This death occurred nine days after the COVID epidemic was reported. At this stage, none of us had a clue about how deadly COVID was.


The Executive Committee promptly proceeded to arrange a memorial service for the deceased. It was held on the 19th of March 2020, four days after the National State of Disaster was declared by Government. This commemorative service was held at her house in Diepkloof Extension. It was a full house, members of the Diepkloof Executive Committee, the GEC (Mother Body) including the Co-ordinator of Hospitality at MB; Mrs Queen Makhubo, were in attendance.

We were singing hymns as speaker after speaker paid tribute by outpouring of love, respect and admiration for the departed member and mostly for family. After the service, the entire Executive team and members were invited to have refreshments at Mrs Thepi Ribisi’s home. A neighbour of Mrs Molewa and a member of the Diepkloof Area.

The entire membership of JORETA, including friends and relatives of the family, had no face masks on, our mouths were not covered throughout the day.


A nationwide lockdown was enforced on the 27th of March 2020. The wearing of a face mask became mandatory. I was later horrified to learn that the spread of COVID-19 was mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Therefore, wearing a face mask was a prevention measure to limit transmission, but none of us had a face mask on during that memorial service.


Someone might say we acted recklessly and irresponsibly. The truth of the matter was that very little was known then, about COVID-19. The Johannesburg Retired Teachers Association is an older persons formation. This has evidently showed that we are a vulnerable group. Our Government needs to be sensitized to our needs. When we find ourselves in such a catastrophe, Government needs to send a clear message to us; warning of the looming danger and this should be done promptly and unambiguously.


We were brought together to that first COVID era memorial service, subsequently to the funeral on the 22nd of March 2020; by our pledge as it is contained in our constitution, that we shall render care and support, reach out in comfort during bereavement to our members. What we should be conscious of, is not to do that to the detriment of our health.


The novel COVID-19 Corona Virus spread like wildfire around the world. It was harsh and unrelenting. Wrecking havoc in many families worldwide. Yes, death is an inevitable part of life, but it became painful for many to bear witness to an overabundance of loss. Some families were completely wiped off. COVID left us with holes in our hearts, JORETA was not spared, the association lost close to fourty members.



Finally, it remains a mystery that none of the members who attended the Molewa memorial service and funeral were infected by COVID. Glory be to God!



Mrs B Mabalane – Kgositsile

Diepkloof Area. 


21st Century Thought Leadership

“A 21st Century thought leader sees networks and interconnections that are not obvious to the rest of us, explains those connections and networks in terms that the rest of us can grasp and advocates for action based on the bigger picture.” (Jeff Mcintre – Strasburg founder and editor Sustainblog)

Joreta as an organization with a large membership is challenged to have leadership that is in tune with the times and dynamic enough to can embrace 21st Century thought leadership in order to can establish formidable teams that would leverage upon the talent of members that are not necessarily in leadership structures in order to advance the success of the organisation in all of its objectives.

The essence of Thought Leadership includes amongst others;

  • Joint effective visioning
  • Valuing the person
  • Compassion
  • Inspiration
  • Handling conflicts in a constructive manner
  • Building commitment
  • Collaborative thinking and constructive teamwork
  • Collective focus
  • Acknowledging talents of others
  • Showcasing the talents of others in the best interest of the organisation

It is therefore reasonable to conclude that for the sustainability of Joreta beyond our lifetime and for the benefit of our individual personal growth in navigating our twilight years it would be unwise to ignore the importance of the salient prescripts of “21st Century Thought Leadership” in our organisation.

By Linda Zabala



The bearded men dance

and writhe with agony

mystical body movements

to the sound of vibrant drums.

Oh! My people

Who told you to repent

in a song of praise?


The priest bellows in his priest-craft

while some rolling, kneeling

and striking the ground.

My people want the road to happiness

the evil things that are here

will set with the sun in the west

Listen, as from today,bellows the priest…

Our souls and homesteads

are purified

Oh! Let childbirth come

let the cries of our children be heard.

The doors to happiness are open

Open to swallow my people

Let’s break the silence

to the hereafter.

A moment of freedom

comes to the limbs

and the babbling of tongues.

This moment of vision comes

 every Sunday.

Will my people ever

 reach heavens door?

Whispers of barbarism

and madness drip

from the lips of the civilised.


Come, let us sing the song of praise

Come along let us beat

the drums of praise.

Come, let us take the long

straight strides to happiness.

My people are on their way

 to happiness every Sunday afternoon.







As I write this article, education in South Africa is in real crisis. The school as a learning organisation does not exist in a vacuum; it should be seen as part of larger society. Much has changed in within the education system in South Africa since the advent of our democratic government. Central to the changes is a compelling need for the redefinition of education itself. Education is shaped by society while it is simultaneously shapes society. The system of Basic Education has passed through a period of rapid transformation. The educational environment of the new social order is radically different from that of the past decades. This difference has become more prominent in the education system over the past twenty-nine crucial years. Change is not static but dynamic. According to Harding (1995:1), the turbulent educational landscape is messy and unpredictable and creates a tension between stability and the unknown. There remain many issues unresolved that require urgent attention within the education system with the view to find solutions. Currently, there is a huge disjuncture between the system of education and the demands of labour market, which are imperative for education and social change.

Against this background, the objective of this article is to highlight the educational challenges specifically within South African schools. The changes that were ushered by democracy indicate how enduring change can significantly influence the system of education. The second purpose of this article is to draw attention to the national policy makers of the day that it has now become a competing prerequisite to overhaul the entire educational system. In my view, schools must be, changed to become effective and dynamic sites of learning and teaching. Education must foster a learning climate that encourages questions, feedback, experimentation and passion for continuous growth and development. An effective system of education needs to produce students with appropriate skills and knowledge that will enable them to gain a competitive edge, and enhance their standing in today’s global competition. Fundamentally, every learning institution is unique and thus needs to adapt continuously to produce critical thinkers. It seems to me that this may not possibly happen unless the system of education is radically transformed to meet to the rapidly changing global environments.

Evidently, therefore, the challenges facing the current crop of learners and students alike are more complex and multi-faceted which require well-calculated strategies. At the heart of the challenges is that the present education lacks quality, there are various factors that contribute towards these, which require urgent solutions.  Unfortunately, unequal provision of economic and human resources including the physical infrastructure, lack of media centres, science laboratories and computers continues unabated. This scenario emanates from the fact that historically disadvantaged black schools are suffering similar crisis in the new dispensation. The provision of these learning facilities is extremely essential in order to address the challenges. Within the context of South Africa, changes in the education system are closely bound up with wider social and political changes. Education is never neutral, that is why it can bring about social change. The system of education in South Africa must be completely overhauled. Fundamentally, the philosophy of education must be adapted to suit the new democratic dispensation. The system of education requires radical reforms, innovations, new technologies, and possible ways of coping with these issues through new strategies. Largely, this will depend on the will and commitment of the present policy makers and other relevant stakeholders. The government of the day needs an effective enduring desire, the passion and compassion to make positive impacts on the social changes.  


Extensive research reveals that high dropout rate are recorded wherein primary school learners leave school much earlier and thus fall into illiteracy. Most learners in these grades do not reach beyond Grade 7 and become a lost generation. Again, the vast majority are found amongst black communities. Those who are promoted to Grade 8 seem to be unable to comprehend what they read or write. The alarming dropout rate requires substantial political policy, courage, and organisation.  Unemployment by the majority of the black parents and unskilled labourers is also a contributory factor because a vast majority of particularly black learners cannot access education .The quality of teaching and learning within our primary schools leaves much to be desired especially in mathematics and science .Ironically, the issue of competence in these subjects in South Africa has shown that a major weakness lies within teacher’s content knowledge .In this regard; many teachers possess insufficient foundational knowledge to enable to teach effectively. Taylor and Vinelvold (1999; 142 ) state that this acts as a major inhibit to teaching and learning in the classroom .Evidently, there should be radical training and retraining programmes that will focus on developing the competencies required in the workforce especially in these fields of the curriculum. The country seriously requires teacher development in academic and professional upgrade, those who will be future focused and be able to prepare learners that will be ready to meet the challenges facing the country. There is a dire need for a national policy to implement a programme of upgrading academic and professional qualifications, growth and development that will address the challenges the turbulence and the scarcity of required skills  

Notwithstanding the remarkable changes in South Africa since the inception of the new dispensation in 1994, the country’s education is still confronted with serious challenges in many of our public institutions especially those in historically black areas. Education is, indeed, a terrain for competing political, economic and ideological interests. To a great, extend these aspects form a large scale either of factors that affect positively or negatively to the nature of society. The type of management leadership in our learning institutions is one of the significant challenges. Given the complexity of our education system and the environment in which it exists, a new kind of leadership and management is urgently required. There is a dire need for committed educational leaders who can manage schools during these times of chaos, flux, uncertainty and complexity.   Leadership and management need to be given equal prominence if schools are to operate effectively to achieve their objectives. Our schools desperately need effective educational leadership that can manage within their new the quality and rapidly changing environment and responsibilities those who can add value to the quality of education. The quality of teaching and moral force or character is a compelling prerequisite.


In Conclusion, the many challenges that continue to exist in the majority of our schools must be urgently addressed. The challenges must be conceived as critical issues that require urgent attention to be resolved within schools by individuals, teams and society as a whole. They pose enormous challenges for society and will probably continue in future.  It is imperative that political and economic forces, which shape educational decisions, be changed before our education is expected to be transformed. Every school’s vision must address the mismatch between what they are teaching. The strategic plans and national policies must form the base for viability and meaningful change. The school management and leadership must therefore, continuously strive to improve the working conditions within schools. There should be quality teaching and learning embedded in the strategic focus of every institution. Continuous development and learning needs to create a strategic alignment with and atonement to local and global competition. Unless the state of the current education system is radically transformed, the future of South Africa is going to remain bleak, which will be absurd. The operative words in this article are change, acceleration and adaptation.   


                                                                                   I thank you!



We the Nation: JORETA Participates in eNCA Discussion – October 11, 2023

Background: South Africa faces a shortage of highly skilled teachers, especially in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). With only 15,000 new teachers graduating yearly, well below the required 25,000, and 18,000-22,000 teachers leaving the profession annually, addressing this crisis is imperative. JORETA, led by Mr. Ashley P Mojela, Ms. Ellen Mabusela, and Dr. Mduduzi Mathe, participated in a discussion with key figures from education and related sectors.

  • Participants:
    • Mr. Enoch Rabotapi: Chief Director DBE
    • Mr. Mugwena John Maluleke: General Secretary of SADTU
    • Ms. Nomsa Cembi: Media Officer SADTU
    • Mr. Matakanye Matakanya: General Secretary NASGB
    • Dr. Batseba Mbokane: Vice President AMESA & Wits Lecturer
    • Dr. Vlok: Teacher Training Representatives
    • Ms. Marina Van Zyl: MP DA ECD College Director
    • Ms. Nkanyezi Thabethe: Regional President COSAS SAOU
    • Trevor Noah Foundation Representatives (OLONA) FEDSAS

Topics Discussed:

  1. Looming Teacher Shortage in 2024:

    Highlighted the shortage of highly skilled STEM teachers and the oversupply of teachers in other fields. The discussion delved into teachers’ preferences for urban over rural schools and the need for improved conditions to retain skilled educators.

  2. Retirement of Teachers:

    Explored the factors contributing to the yearly departure of 22,000 teachers, including early retirement, socio-economic pressures, and challenges adapting to new educational demands like 4IR, Coding, and Robotics.

  3. Quality of Teachers:

    Discussed the impact of low teacher salaries, poor working conditions, and societal perceptions on attracting high achievers to the teaching profession. Emphasized the need for improved remuneration, policies against unruly behavior, and continuous professional development.


Participants, including Mr. Ashley Mojela and Mr. Basil Manuel, stressed the need for drastic improvements in school conditions and increased government investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD). Mr. Mugwena Maluleke emphasized continuous support for teachers, better salaries, and specialized training in 4IR, Robotics, and Coding. The discussion concluded with a call for JORETA to play an active role in improving teaching and learning in township schools and mobilizing parents to be more involved.

Way Forward (JORETA):

JORETA’s General Chairperson urged the organization to be more relevant in improving teaching and learning in township schools. Ms. Ellen Mabusela and Dr. Mduduzi Mathe echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the organization’s potential contribution as experienced teachers. Informally, Mr. Matakanye Matakanya and Ms. Nkanyezi Thabethe highlighted the importance of mobilizing parents, teaching STEM subjects in indigenous languages, and creating violence-free learning environments.


JORETA History

The Johannesburg Retired Teachers Association (JORETA)

Established in 1989, on Tuesday the 17th of October, as Johannesburg Retired African Teachers Association (JORATA) with a signed membership of 20 members and 5 apologies, at the Orlando DOCC.

First Executive Committee

  • Mr B Xulu (Chairman)
  • Mr D.M Nhlapho (Dep. Chair)
  • Mr S.C Takalo (Secretary)
  • Mrs V.V Mlambo (Ass. Secretary)
  • Mrs C.G Caswell (Treasurer)
  • Additional Committee Members:
    • Mrs E.N Radebe
    • Mr T.M Lujabe
    • Mr J.T Ngakane


  • General meetings were scheduled on the 2nd Tuesday of each month
  • Executive meetings on the 1st Tuesday of each month.

To date, this arrangement still holds. The Venue was Mooki Memorial College. Joreta membership showed growth which included Alexandra Township. The Association was then divided into 12 Areas and additional Executive members served as heads of sub-committees; viz. Culture, Bereavement, Tours, Hospitality, and Finance.

Yearly Program Activities

  • A function in recognition of members reaching age 80
  • Cultural day celebration
  • JORETA departed – a memorial service for deceased members
  • Visitation to the sick and invalids at the end of the year or an outing for lunch
  • Two trips annually – a short trip of ± 2 days away from home or a long exciting trip of ± 6 days to far-flung places, traveling in style by Premier Class coaches of Shosholoza Meyl.
  • Contribution of R1000 to an identified charitable institution such as a needy school or hospice.

Messages to the Housebounds

Here are some of the messages sent to housebound members:

  • ‘Let this problem make you better and not bitter. Let it strengthen your own bondage with God. God’s plan for you is a prosperous life, good health, happiness and fulfillment’ – Corinthians 4:6
  • ‘Therefore we do not lose heart even though your outward man (body) is perishing, your inward man (spirit) is renewed day by day’ – Corinthians 4: 8 – 9
  • “We are hard-pressed on every side; but not crushed. We are perplexed, but not in despair. We are persecuted, but not abandoned. We are struck down but not destroyed. Life is a continuous process in which everybody and even you; keep on changing, it is only God who remains the same”.

21st Anniversary of JORETA

This celebration was held on the 15th of September 2010, at Diepkloof Hall.

Their Executive Team consisted of:

  • Mr S. Mtshali (Chairman)
  • Mrs J. Nkhi (Secretary)
  • Mrs O. Radebe
  • Mrs V. Nkabinde
  • Mrs T. Tlhong
  • Mrs M. Makhene
  • Mrs G. Thembekwayo
  • Mrs D. Modukanele
  • Mrs M. Monnathebe
  • Mrs F. Masinga
  • Mrs Z. Dlamini
  • Mrs P. Mtshali

Members with Outstanding Contributions

  • Dr S.K. Matseke: He came up with the idea of sub-committees
  • Mrs N. Mphothulo (late): She introduced printed minutes and donated cards for special occasions; e.g. Joreta departed, Octogenarians, Christmas etc

The First Octogenarians in JORETA

It was easy to compile this significant history of our association because our forebears documented every occasion, including the minutes of every meeting they had. Our archives have this history stored and can be retrieved whenever it is required. We will always hold them in high esteem.

Compiled by the Editorial Team 01 October 2023



By Mr Mokgomatse Conference Matseke

 What a day!I realized how important it was to celebrate this day, because I was part and parcel of those celebrants who were honored by JORETA to have reached this remarkable day in their lifetime. It was held on 9 May 2023 and a selected number of four members per area was invited by Mother-body committee to appreciate God’s grace who made it possible for 22 members of our Association to have reached 80 years of age. I take this as no mean feat, because there are very few people who are fortunate to reach this milestone during the course of their lifespan.

According to the Bible it is only those who show respect to their parents that are assured long life beyond seventy years of age. Furthermore it is stated in Psalm 90 verse 10 that “the days of our years are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”It is true that God’s Spirit shall not abide in us forever (Genesis 6: 3) but the good part of it is that God has sustained and carried us to enjoy the days of old age thus far. The verbal report that we got from bereavement committee is that those who turned eighty years earlier this year are still alive and probably those who still have to celebrate their birthdays in months to come,  will see the dawn of year-end. We are happy that we have exceeded the Biblical threescore and ten and are lucky to have travelled a journey of 29200 days from 1943 to 2023 to date.

The occasion was held at Dlamini Multipurpose centre in Dlamini along Koma Street. The function started at 10h00 and luckily all the invitees were present at that specific time. The venue for the celebration was decorated with all colors of the rainbow. The tables were arranged methodically and strategically in order to create  enough space for the dancing floor. My contemporaries and l had never felt so proud and important like we were on that day. We were ushered in style in the hall with a rendition of songs by Serenaders JORETA choir.

The speakers congratulated and spoke so well about us for having reached this remarkable milestone. I felt pity for the majority of JORETA members who were not part of the occasion probably because of financial constraints. I was requested a day before the occasion to come prepared to give a reply at the end of the programme. In my address I made the audience aware of how important it is to labour purposefully by adding value in the lives of other people. According to Eugene Bell Jr. I quote: “when you aspire to inspire before you aspire, you conspire to inspire even after you pause to respire.” In short,it refers to one taking necessary steps by giving oneself the green light in life. The implication thereof is that during the fixed time that God has given us, one should be proactive and become a catalyst in whatever job one finds himself/herself in to make the world a better place to live in. God has provided each one of us with variety of talents to assist us adapt to environmental challenges as we navigate through life. We should not be like that unprofitable servant in the Bible who was given one talent and failed to take advantage of that moment to multiply its worth to the satisfaction of his master (Matthew 25: 30).Thanks to God that He has protected us to be more fruitful and multiply in our respective vocations and also blessed us to exceed man’s life expectancy by ten years. We further thank God for His tender Mercy, Grace and Peace that transcends all understanding for having kept us alive and kicking thus far. Life is worth living. Abraham Lincoln maintains that “it is not the years in your life that counts but the life in your years.” I have no doubt that the celebrants lived a clean life that is why they are still in a good state of health. Everything is possible under the sun as long as the heart keeps on beating and that the organs of the body are strong enough to sustain you as well. I therefore wish to say to the 2023 octogenarians be proud that your footprints will remain forever in the sand of JORETA history going forward. This celebration was the first of its kind to be conducted in this special way and it might be the last time to experience the same mood in years to come.

For more information and clarity regarding celebrants, please refer to the list of 2023 Octogenarians who honored this day by their presence attached hereto.

In conclusion, I hope next year celebration will be far better arranged because the organisers will have taken cue from 2023 Octogenarian celebration. Furthermore, that all members of good standing will be invited to attend the 2024 Octogenarian celebration without exception. Lastly I would like to express my thanks and appreciation on behalf of 2023 octogenarians for a function which was excellently conducted by the polity of the Association at Mother-body level. Thanks be to God.






Chairman’s Statement

” true legacy is to leave the Association better than you found it “


I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the veterans who selflessly started the Johannesburg Retired Teachers Association. To them I want to say, your dedication and service have made a lasting impact on all of us. We are deeply indebted and thankful for your bravery, your foresight, not only to the retiree but also to the greater teaching profession at large. Your legacy continues to inspire all of us.


To those entrusted with the responsibility of caring for the association and taking it forward, I offer this advice: respect and honour this legacy, by showing great form of discernment. Respect the values, the mission, and the vision embedded firmly in the JORETA Constitution. The Constitution that was coined with sweat and blood by our forebears. Their sacrifices and dedication should serve as a guiding light, a shining beacon as you think carefully about your leadership trajectory.

I urge the leaders of today and tomorrow to foster an inclusive environment where all JORETANS feel valued, appreciated and heard. I wish you the desire to encourage active participation and robust engagement to all subjects before you in order to ensure that JORETA thrives.
The spirit of discernment in you, should speak to you and create in you the desire to uphold the  principles of openness and transparency at all material times. Keep the lines of communication open. Enlighten your members about your leadership resolutions, decisions, activities, and finances with the intention of building an  ever lasting trust.
For JORETA to thrive, it will depend on the desirable quality of its membership. Certainly, the success and vitality of JORETA truly rest on the desirable qualities and characteristics of its membership. Such qualities can include amongst many others you can think of: “COMMITMENT”. Members who are dedicated to JORETA’s mission and goals are more likely and expected to be vocal, present actively participate and contribute positively to the betterment of the association.
“COLLABORATION”. Members and Committees willingness to work together and collaborate with one another are capable of fostering the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. The spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood can at the end manifest itself into trust, confidence and confiding in and to one another without fear of spilling the beans. Members can begin to share their feelings, secrets and things troubling them because they trust that members will not tell. 
“LEADERSHIP”. Leadership at Area level and also at mother Body level: JORETA desires to have members who are willing to take on leadership roles and responsibilities, in order to ensure the continuity and growth of JORETA.
“ENGAGEMENT”. Members of high quality are members that are active, engaged and attend all meetings, all events and contribute positively as prescribed by the JORETA Constitution.
“DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY”. JORETA desires a diverse membership base, that embraces diversity and inclusivity. Embracing diversity and inclusivity can lead to richer exchange of ideas and different perspectives.
“FINANCIAL SUPPORT”. The financial contributions from our members makes a crucial and significant impact towards the sustainability and the ability to carry out the many initiatives by JORETA.
Overall, the quality of our membership plays a significant role in shaping the success of the association. 
ALWAYS REMEMBER: “XA MINA XA WENA”, my predecessor, the General Chairperson, Mr L.K Maluleke.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: “MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER IN UNITY AND DEVELOPMENT”, my General Editorial Coordinator Ms Baby Kgositsile Mabalane.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: “BETTER TOGETHER, TOGETHER FOREVER, the General Chairperson, Mr Ashley Peter Mojela


I stand highest on a mountain top
I glide my eyes across the land
I see the epitome of your perseverance
I hear the clarion call of the educator
A persuasive song pulling us into the classroom

A call of empowerment in education
Come where the heart is calling
To you for knowledge and wisdom
Just grab an echo from me my beloved
You will conquer the world for a lifetime

You understand seasons of our lives
At ploughing seasons you tilled fallow minds
At planting seasons you sowed seeds
At watering seasons you were a fountain
You conquered hazards of education systems
You kept great attitude even when hard
God gave learners wisdom to step up correctly
They are the harvest of your selfless labour
You equipped them to greatest heights in life
They landed softly on your footprints, Octogenarian

You are a class of oak and baobab trees
Where would we be minus you?
You set tables, served and we ate
You soared like an eagle above the clouds
We give flowers you deserve
We sing and dance, we applaud and praise
We ululate, we stomp and shout!
God bless you with longevity of life