SPEAK UP – Students learn to communicate for social change.

Speak Up is a public speaking skills programme that seeks to educate students about critical social theory while developing strong communications skills. Students explore relevant community and school issues and learn to craft better speeches.

If you would like to learn more about this project or how to support it please contact: gerda@bottomup.org.za


The South African Schools Act promotes active citizenship and democracy and encourages the participation of students in school governance via the policy mandated representative councils of learners (RCLs). Unfortunately, RCLs at school level suffer from a weakened imagination in which the long history of the British-colonial prefect system has come to be entangled with the history of liberation politics and student representative councils (SRCs).

This means that while the policy statement may aim at genuine student participation and representation,
in practice, many schools view RCLs only as symbolic student leadership or as ‘model students’. Little opportunity is therefore afforded for students to use the vehicle of RCLs to express genuine student interests.

How we support student leaders?

Bottomup’s RCL work aims to reignite genuine student participation, representation and an orientation toward social justice on schools.

We offer (free of charge to schools):
Residential Camps
Mobile Classroom Experiences



Bottomup’s chess in schools programme has come a long since 2011 when we first started teaching chess to primary school students in the Greater Lotus River, Otttery, Parkwood and Grassy Park area. 

We believe that it is still important for children to have fun. Chess allows children to both have fun and develop strategic thinking and pattern recognition skills. 

This project takes place mainly in primary schools as a supportive extra-curricular programme.