The Ukuqonda institute was founded August 2006 by messrs ME Setati, PT Zwane, EJ Makae, AM Hofmeyr, TO Mabuza, Dr PG Human and Mrs CE Lampen, and the late prof IG Sethole, as a regrouping and consolidation of ongoing work within the Centre for Productive Education (a Section 21 company), the Ukuqonda Initiative (UMAT) of the GM South Africa Foundation, and Mathematical Development (Pty) Ltd (a private commercial company).
Although it was only formally instituted in 2006, the Ukuqonda Institute was effectively formed in 2003 when a post-matric program, funded by Impala, was launched in Rustenburg under the umbrella of the Centre of Productive Education which was then in the process of winding down its operations.
In 2005, a school-intervention program at FET level was added to the post-matric program, with a view to empower more learners from the rural schools around Rustenburg to access the opportunity for bridging to university study offered by the impala-funded post-matric programme.
Since 2004, the operations of the Ukuqonda Institute expanded from a one-year post-matric program for 21 students (19 – 20 years old), from Rustenburg, to the range of projects and programmes described on the following pages, which affects learners and students in the age range 6 to 21. The Ukuqonda budget increased from R991 000 in the 2003-2004 financial year to more than R10 million in 2009-2010, while the full-time staff increased from 2 people in 2004 to 14 in 2010.
Whereas the Ukuqonda operations were entirely limited to an area of 40 km radius around Rustenburg in 2004, the Institute now effectively has offices and resident staff in both Polokwane and Volksrust, for the operations in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.