This letter by Sello and Kagiso (in the form of a question-answer session) gives some background to their Go teaching activities in the schools. The questions came over the internet from Milton Bradley, who has taught several hundred scholars in the USA.
What is the general economic situation of the community in which these
80% of the households in Soweto live on a maximum of $200 per month and
about 80% adults have had less than seven years of schooling. We the go
instructors have both acquired National Senior Certificates (school
leaving). We are running the project out of zero income because we will
never be at peace with ourselves for denying potential go and go enthusiasts
to know about this wonderful game.
How strong (or weak, if you prefer) were the instructors?
Sello 32 years old started teaching when he was about 25kyu (SA) in August
1995 and he is presently 7 kyu.
The 1995 Dobsonville higher primary schools tournament was then
the biggest go tournament ever held in South Africa with fifty children
taking part. First place went to Sipho Mampe (my nephew) who was the only
player left undefeated after six rounds. He brought the game home with him
and he showed me the rudiments of the game. I was hooked to the game and
before I knew it, I won a game against Sipho.
Sipho introduced me to
Sello his go instructor at school. I started playing with Sello and gained
more experience. What got me more addicted to the game was after reading a
book called “The Magic of Go” which I borrowed from Sello Leopeng. From that
day on I decided to help him promote the game.
What were the ages of the kids who progressed to 4K – 2K AGA?
They were eleven years old. Now ages between 13 and 14.
How long did that take them?
They started August 1995 up to this day.
What instruction did they receive, and how frequently?
Mainly from Sello Leopeng and Kagiso Mampe, and a lot of practice at the
Dobsonville go club. They also had a helpful coaching four from a retired
Japanese banker Mr Haruki Kagohashi aged 52 years and his rank was 3 dan
amateur. He stayed for a month in Soweto and donated 50 sets of stones and
How much self-study did they engage in, using what materials?
A lot of practice, a go board and a set of stones.
How much Go play did they engage in outside of their formal
They had at least ten games a day at the Dobsonville go club.
Were they on the internet? If so, to what extent?
No. We had a computer for a short period of time which had a program called
How old were these kids when they began studying Go?
11 years old. Coming to age, I believe 8 years is the right age to start.
About grade two.
Is your Go program after-school, in-class, weekend?
Session length, and proportion devoted to instruction and to
Six schools attend after school for an hourly practice.
Two schools Makhoarane and Samuel Mangala Higher Primary schools allow us
within their school periods. But a lot of go playing is done at the
Dobsonville go club Monday to Friday from 15h00to 17h00 and two special
Saturdays a month.
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