Universal Promise has always been in awe of South African talent. We are floored by the mastery of multiple languages, genuine curiosity, multipart harmony, Xhosa dance steps, and student expression. The new Academic Centre at Vusumzi Primary School showcases this broad range of intellectual and creative abilities in the school and beyond, and stimulates and hones other skills, as well. In the words of a gracious and grateful VPS educator, "The Universal Promise Academic Centre will support not one dozen or one hundred but one thousand children who stay in Nomathamsanqa, Langbos, and elsewhere in Addo. A few years ago, this was unthinkable for us at Vusumzi. But today we are proud. Universal Promise, we now hold our heads high."

a library, a science lab, an open-air meeting space,
a dance & music studio, and an arts studio

the demolition of the apartheid-era structure, the clearing and leveling of land, the installation of the foundation, the laying of floors and paved areas, the erection of exterior walls, and
the installation of roof, windows, and doors
all the ironwork, the internal finish work, the signature outdoor steps, the exterior landscaping (in process).

See the project's evolution in the slideshow below.

We owe a significant debt of gratitude to architect Bobby Ellis of Ellis Architecture and Design Studio for his knowledge of local protocol and the steps to ensure compliance. The process was long and complex; still, in the midst of all that, Mr. Ellis remained true to the creative process. He designed a building that signals the end of the woefully inadequate facilities at Vusumzi Primary School and brings an inherently South African flair to the amazing new structure. The center is rich with natural tones and textures that reflect the geographical wonders of South Africa and the Xhosa culture. Mr. Ellis also incorporated wide-open spaces for ventilation in the hot summer climate. Wood, painted brick, and simplicity signal an era for Nomathamsanqa's children that was unimaginable just a few years ago. Now the young learners will enjoy a school that is commensurate with what children everywhere deserve. Good enough is no longer good enough.

We are also grateful to Shaun Gillham of Leen Mulckhuyse Construction and his construction team of masterful brick warriors and engineers. The team razed the decades-old former main hall - a neglected, incomprehensible structure that was a major impetus behind the founding of Universal Promise. Mr. Gillham worked closely with Mr. Ellis and Universal Promise to ensure that budgets were respected, timelines were honored, and an unparalleled work ethic was embraced. We marveled as the Academic Centre went UP, UP, UP. The Universal Promise acronym is the perfect reflection of the literal and figurative UPward movement of Addo and its residents.