Siyavula & Foonda Mate: free resources to prep for the matric re-write. - Youth Capital

Join our campaign thetha nge unemployment to take action against youth unemployment

Siyavula & Foonda Mate: free resources to prep for the matric re-write.

Avatar photo

Matrics ‘on the fringe’ is Youth Capital’s research brief that reviewed the  Second Chance Matric Programme. This is a programme by the Department of Basic Education that enables young people to re-write their matric exam or upgrade a subject. The brief takes into consideration the experiences of second-chancers, and quantifies that, at any given year, 250 000 young people are working towards their matric qualification, outside of the full-schooling system.

Being outside of the full-time schooling system means that young people don’t have access to textbooks nor to a teacher (if you are taking this route without the assistance of a private college). So we need to give relevance to free resources that can help young people get ready for their exams.

During a Facebook Live panel discussion, Aqeel Madhi, a second- chancer from the Kathrada Foundation, Tao Boyle from Foonda Mate and Nosipho Sithole from Siyavula Education talked about the importance of support and resources for the young people preparing to rewrite their matric  

Aqeel shared that when he was preparing to rewrite matric, specifically Maths and Physical Science that he wanted to upgrade, he had “a lack of support”.  He explained that unlike when you are doing matric full time at school, “during your rewrite year you simply register for the re-write exam and there are no teachers constantly supporting you”. He added that he felt like there was a “complete isolation for the whole matric re-write year and on top of that no one has gone through what you are going through”. So parents who cannot relate to a young person preparing to re-write, do not know how to support the young person. Thankfully Aqeel was able to find online resources like Siyavula to help him prepare for his exams.

Caption: Tao encourages learners to remember that examiners will not ask them what they do not know before exams. 

Accessible Resources

Online resources need to be accessible to young people. Because of the high cost of data in South Africa, being data-light or free is a key requirement. Tao explained that when Foonda Mate was created, there was a strong recognition that young people are already using Whatsapp, which is not as data-heavy as other online platforms. Tao noted that they knew a young person would be keen to use it because young people are already familiar with how the platform works, “I text my friend on Whatsapp, I know how that works”.  On the basis of this recognition, Fooda Mate set up a Whatsapp account that allows young people to select the subject and the grade; it then provides relevant resources such as past exam papers.

Similar to Foonda Mate, the Siyavula website was created to be as accessible as possible. MTN, Vodacom and Telkom users do not have to use their data when going onto the website (zero-rated). Nosipho explained that the Siyavula website specifically provides assistance with Maths and Science and can be accessed on a mobile phone, tablet or computer. Nosipho said they “made sure that Whatsapp sharing is a key feature” so that if learners struggle with a concept or math formula while on the website, they can share it with their tutors or teachers on Whatsapp. Siyavula makes available open-source books, besides papers and exercise books.

Steps to access Foonda Mate and Siyavula.


  1. Save the number, 060 070 3213
  2. Send a Whatsapp message saying “hi”
  3. Choose from the options sent to you in response to your “hi” message.

You can visit their website for a short demonstration.


  1. Visit their website
  2. Create a profile
  3. Click on practice and choose the subjects and sub-topics you want to practice what you know about the sub-topics

Here is a document with detailed steps.

To hear more about Foonda Mate, Siyavula and Aqeel’s experience, here is the full Facebook Live Discussion.

What is your experience of studying for a matric re-write using these resources? WhatsApp us!

Let’s keep talking

Sign up to receive news about fresh research, events, activations and more. No spam, promise.

I agree to be emailed