Two generations after democracy, South Africa’s public schooling system continues to underperform. Despite some gains, many South African children still don’t achieve basic academic milestones, and teachers are often blamed.

Where Light Shines Through allows glimmers of light to shine through the darkness of the public education story and reveals can-do teachers who are excelling despite the odds.

It explores what we can learn from these teachers to build the quality of the schooling sector and the public sector more broadly – and turns our gaze momentarily away from public officials who are in power, towards those who are in service.

The remarkable stories of sixteen South African teachers from all over the country, illustrated with portraits from the Artist’s Proof Studios, show that while our attitude to life is often informed by our experiences, our attitude nevertheless remains our choice.

The book offers this description of a can-do teacher.

More than anything, a can-do teacher cares; she harnesses her resilience and her willingness to evolve to make things happen despite the circumstances. This agency drives her to do the best for those in her care as she helps children imagine and realise their greatest possible selves.

  • If you’re a teacher reading this, does this describe you?
  • If you are a parent, does this describe your child’s teacher?
  • If you are working with teachers, does this describe the people in your team?

School Discussion Guide

A guide to encouraging discussions and workshops at schools based on WHERE LIGHT SHINES THROUGH by Kimon Phitidis

Sponsored Copies

Sponsored copies of Where Light Shines Through are distributed to teachers and education students to inform and inspire a new generation of can-do teachers.  Put your company name to this book by sponsoring copies today.

Sponsor copies of Where Light Shines Through

Where Light Shines Through


It’ll take teachers with a can-do attitude to pick up the school year. (with the attached May pdf article and a link to the on-line.

Back to school: No dress up for “Treasure Island” this year.

Back to school: How innovative teachers embrace online learning during lockdown.

Can-do people achieve despite the odds. (with the attached March pdf and a link to the online article)

Local author pens book about inspiring teachers.

Excelling against the odds.

A Research Review for Extra Curricula Primary Mathematics Programmes

Social Innovations commissioned a research review to help us better understand the challenges that learners face in intermediate phase maths and the difficulties of the transition from foundation phase to intermediate phase.

The report recommends how these challenges can best be addressed in an after school environment.


We hope that this report will also inform other programmes working to support intermediate phase maths.  This is an open source document.

We have a team of about 200 teachers delivering classes to almost 5000 learners this year in the afternoons.  When our mentors visit each site, they offer feedback and support, but like to leave the team with something extra to think about.  These EduBytes combine short background research with practical teaching and classroom practice tips.  We will add more throughout the year.  Feel free to download them to use in your classrooms and programmes.

Social Innovations surveyed stakeholders of the Zenex Foundation to inform the development of its 2019 – 2023 strategy.  We asked stakeholders for feedback on the foundations strategy, relationships, grant making approach, operations, communications and knowledge sharing. Read more about how the survey informed Zenex’s strategy.

Sponsored copies of Where Light Shines Through are distributed to teachers and education students to inform and inspire a new generation of can-do teachers.
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