Meeting with the ECD Chamber Board Member President Boitumelo Monoketsi

The air is wet and slightly chilled within Africa’s largest Mall, Mall of Africa on a Tuesday morning. It is within this setting that I engage one Boitumelo, affectionately known as “Tumi” within a very demanding yet rewarding trade- Early Childhood Development (ECD’s). Tumi has been in this sector for over 21 years. Her story starts off as receptionist at a medical centre she worked at.

An incident seared into memory is that thrust her into the ECD space. Tumi recalls, ” I was at work the one morning, a mother came into our medical centre with a sick daughter; loving children i played with the little girl, sadly the mother’s annoyance and disdain…”Tumi further recalls that albeit a sad incident on that specific day, something was stirred in her. “I knew that i wanted to be in a space where children could play freely, uninhibited, where mothers would not feel bad brining children to work because they had no one to care for the young while meeting the demands of livelihood, being at work, etc.

As Tumi reflects, it has been a long yet rewarding journey. On thought about the IEDF and becoming president she notes: “It is a no-brainer joining the IEDF and persuading my Early Childhood Development Chamber members to be part of the IEDF. That is because we can be part of an organization focused on tackling the following challenges within this space:

*Recognizing ECD’s as independent businesses within the informal space

*There are +/- 42,000 ECD’s in South Africa, the bulk sit within the informal space.

*Challenge government policies around spatial development, rezoning of current spaces, recognizing women spearheading this sector as part of women empowerment through upskilling them to that the education level provided by these women become par excellence vi-a-vis independent private ECD’s.

As, interim Secretary General of the IEDF i had the privilege of joining Tumi for a meeting with Matome Chiloane. Although this meeting was later cancelled, the insights taken from the meeting with a senior official in the MEC’s office did reap rewards in leniency for ECD’s which are currently being shut-down for non-compliance given the spatial rezoning policy under the Department of Basic Education.

Tumi acknowledges that her two decades in the industry has given her immense value and asserted conviction that change can be made within the space. A partnership with the IEDF is congruent to impact, however it needs to have bias for decisive action and not pay-lip-service.

As the IEDF we partner with champions like Tumi to affect long-lasting change within our communities and our country as a whole.

Want to know more about the IEDF ECD Chamber? Visit our website or get in contact with us on 087 094 3501 or WhatsApp 074 552 2890 or email

Are you an IEDF member? If not, join now and become part of the movement, or call us on 087 094 3501 or WhatsApp 074 552 2891 or email