Presto is a student-run organisation which empowers the best students in the country to share their knowledge with others. We bring together top performing students, designers, editors and teachers to create content that adds value to students. We are committed to creating the kind of change that has a positive, sustainable impact across our nation.
Who We Are & Our Vision
Our vision is to use student-based teaching to provide a world-class education to all South Africans.
How we started
“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln
Presto started with two best friends who met each other at their university residence. We both realised that an incredible amount of value could be created for their fellow students through high-quality study guides that presented the work in a non-threatening, easy to understand manner. With no capital to hire authors, we wrote the first guides ourselves. The funny thing about being young is that you don’t know what you are capable of, until you have done it – which makes starting something an incredible challenge. However, even with this doubt being present, we spent our holidays writing the guides. We then studied the publishing industry, by reading up on it and contacting people who we knew were in the industry. We decided to publish and print our books ourselves, establishing Presto Books as a publishing company. Our guides were a huge success, and we sold out our economics guides in just three days at the University of Cape Town.
Following the success of the first guides, we realized that we were onto something. After winning a Pitching Competition and receiving capital funding from the University of Stellenbosch, we decided to think bigger. Our vision of reaching more students could be achieved by taking the same successful model from the university market and applying it to high schools. We eventually found some of the smartest students to be our authors, and found the most talented designers to create the guides. As a way of reaching more learners, we decided to put all of our content online. Two years later, our world class learning platform is finally ready to help all matric learners.
As an example of the calibre of authors we are working with, we have provided the following story of one of our authors, Bonginkosi. This illustrates the student-based focus that is present on all levels of the organization.
From a school with no admin block, playing fields, library or science labs, Bonginkosi Mnsisi hit the national press because he gained 100% in Science and Maths in Matric, one of only two learners in the country to achieve this feat. This is even more impressive when you consider that his average for those two subjects, at the end of Grade 10, was only 57%.
“After passing Grade 11, I went to all the Grade 12 teachers in my school and collected all my Grade 12 textbooks and previous question papers. I started studying and practising with some friends. We also organised extra classes where I helped some of the pupils with maths and physical science. I guess that is how I prepared myself,” he said.
Bonginkosi received an award from the Education MEC for being the top performer in maths and science for that year.
Bonginkosi inspires us to develop a positive character, work hard, be disciplined, take opportunities when they come, be humble, and above all give to others. Through Presto, he is able to achieve his mission of sharing his wealth of knowledge to all South Africans.
Through his story, we see that there are incredibly talented individuals in our country, who, given the right resources, could achieve great things. It is this understanding that has formed the long –term vision of Presto.