Inkululeko: Small NPO, big goals

Inkululeko is a small nonprofit with big goals.

The organisation, based at Ntsika Secondary in extension 7, began in 2011. It serves learners from grade eight from five high schools in Joza.

“Our goal with Inkululeko is to provide a platform for learners to fully realise their potential,” said Jason Torreano, founder and executive Director. “We provide academic support, an after-school enrichment programme and opportunities to build business skills for those students who are entrepreneurially inclined. We also have a social enterprise unit – a small cafe – that our learners are building from the ground up alongside a local entrepreneur.”

Students come to Inkululeko for two hours a day, three days a week after school.

“The focus is to help students with academics in areas where they are academically weak,” said Carmen Brandt, Inkululeko’s Academic Coordinator. “By providing extra lessons, we aim to help students move successfully through their curriculum and on to graduation.”

As part of the organisation’s strategic planning, Inkululeko also recently launched a social enterprise unit – Common Ground Cafe – that is run by local entrepreneur Zukisani Lamani.

Common Ground Cafe operates out of a repurposed storage container, donated by Rotary Grahamstown, on the Ntsika property.

“We sell roosterkoek and Russian sausages to students and learners at Ntsika,” said Lamani. “It’s nice to work with our learners to slowly build this business. We’re hoping to also have an internet cafe.”

Common Ground Cafe’s humble beginnings began a year ago with support from the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust in upstate New York. Its purpose is twofold: to create a revenue stream that makes Inkululeko sustainable, and to provide an opportunity for learners with an entrepreneurial spirit to develop business skills that can they can leverage long after they leave Inkululeko.

“Common Ground Cafe puts the academic curriculum into practice,” said Madoda Mkalipi, Inkululeko’s Social Enterprise Coordinator. “Students apply their maths and accounting to figuring out profit margins on different products and see what they learn in the classroom translating to real world application.”

The organisation is based in South Africa – with three colleagues in Grahamstown year-round – and has roots in New York. It collaborates closely with Syracuse University (SU), with students and faculty from SU visiting annually.

Inkululeko is currently looking for reliable, consistent volunteers to help in the classroom with tutoring and in our social enterprise to bring it to the next level.


Inkululeko is online at, on Twitter @inkululeko1 and on Facebook and Instagram @Inkululeko.

If you’re interested in learning more about the organization:

Common Ground Cafe interest: Madoda Mkalipi,

Classroom tutoring: Carmen Brandt,

General organizational queries: Jason Torreano,


Contributed by Inkuleleko