Equality & integration through education

Soul Action – an article from Phil and Rachel who spoke at Church

Equality & integration through education


It was so wonderful to meet and chat with so many of you on Sunday 14th November – Phil and I felt so welcomed!

Since completing our degrees, Phil and I have been involved in inter-cultural community work, education and leadership development – in some form or another.  For the last ten years, we have focused on addressing ongoing inequality and segregation, through Soul Action, the charity we co-founded and co-lead in South Africa.

Phil and Rachel

Phil and Rachel


Ongoing challenges in South Africa

Almost a quarter of a century since the fall of Apartheid, South Africa remains one of the most consistently unequal countries in the world.[1]  On average white South Africans can still expect to earn almost five times more than their black South African neighbours.[2]  Such consistent inequality is sustained by, ‘…the most unequal school system in the world’,[3] an education system where South Africa’s 11 million children learn how to live apart.  An education system that the World Economic Forum ranks as 137th out of 139 countries, and the worst in the world for mathematics and science.  South Africa’s Department of Education acknowledges that in those schools which are predominantly attended by black Africans, teachers only teach for half the school day.  On average, black African children receive about 3.5 hours teaching time a day, compared to 6.5 hours in majority former white only schools.[4]


Our vision and aims

We believe quality education enables children to develop knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to fulfil their aspirations and relevant for today’s society.  As we’ve researched different approaches, models and philosophies of education, Phil and I have had the privilege of witnessing how quality child-centred education has the potential to bring freedom from oppression, since it recognises the potential every child has to make a positive contribution to society, when they are given the opportunity to actively participate in their own learning.


Phil and I are in the process of establishing a school in KwaZulu Natal which respects the rights of every child to a quality, diverse and accessible education, a school where every child has the opportunity to fulfil their God-given holistic potential (Luke 2:52).  Alongside approaches which support the development of academic skills, the diverse and intentionally inter-cultural nature of our school will be conducive to fostering ‘complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity’ – the kind of skills that every child requires to thrive in a democratic society (World Economic Forum).[5] Accessibility to children from diverse socio-economic backgrounds is made possible through our innovative approach to fees, where families pay school fees based on a sliding scale according to their income.


Our ultimate vision is to see an equal and integrated South African society, which we believe starts with children learning together, rather than apart.  As children from a range of cultural, racial and socio-economic backgrounds, learn with and from one another from an early age, we look forward to a society where the mutual exchange of ideas leads to deeper understanding and respect; the kind of relationships where no one is left unchanged, because everyone learns from one another and grows together.



Partnership opportunities

Soul Action is looking to form ‘game-changing’ partnerships with businesses, charities, churches, and / or individuals who are willing to add their expertise, finances and / or time to positively transform South Africa for good, for all. To explore how you might partner visit www.gamechangers.school and / or  email [email protected].

[1] Statistics South Africa (2014), Poverty Trends in South Africa: an examination of absolute poverty between 2006 and 2011 [online], Available from https://beta2.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report-03-10-06/Report-03-10-06March2014.pdf. The Gini coefficient is the measure of income inequality, ranging from 0 to 1.  Zero is a perfectly equal society and a value of 1 represents a perfectly unequal society. At South Africa’s between about 0.660 to 0.696 (2014), South Africa is one of the most consistently unequal countries in the world.


[2] Statistics South Africa (2017), Living Conditions of Households in South Africa [online], Available from http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0310/P03102014.pdf.  Data collected from 23,380 households over 12 months (2014/15), and therefore represents an estimate annual income per household based on the data.


Source White Indian/Asian Coloured Black National
Salary R300 498 R215 784 R131 633 R69 094 R100 246
Capital gains R16 184 R2 173 R1 364 R842 R2 451
Pensions, social insurance, family allowances R30 739 R10 028 R12 260 R8 921 R11 378
Income from individuals R5 232 R3 309 R2 430 R2 194 R2 542
Other R6 520 R2 323 R2 265 R1 261 R1 886
Imputed rent on owned dwelling R85 271 R38 005 R22 747 R10 671 R19 665
Total R444 446 R271 621 R172 765 R92 983 R138 168


[3] Nic Spaull, Stellenbosch University Economist


[4] National Planning Commission (2011), Diagnostic Overview [online], Available from http://www.education.gov.za/Portals/0/Documents/Publications/National%20Planning%20Commission%20Diagnostics%20Overview%20of%20the%20country.pdf?ver=2015-03-19-134928-000 [Accessed 3 July 2017].


[5] See the World Economic Forum (2017). This is the one skill your child needs for the jobs of the future [online]. Available from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/09/skills-children-need-work-future-play-lego, and the World Economic Forum (2016). The Future of Jobs [online]. Available from http://reports.weforum.org/future-of-jobs-2016/#xlink [Accessed October 2018].