A Story of Empowerment and Innovation

The Story of Mukhanyo Christian Academy

How MCA became the first Model School

Musawenkosi Christian Academy (MCA) was originally called Mukhanyo Christian Academy, with "mukhanyo" being the Zulu word for "light" and referring to the "light of the gospel". However, to register as a government school, the name was changed to Musawenkosi Christian Academy, with "musawenkosi" meaning "by God’s grace". MCA is an independent Christian school located in the Kwamhlanga township of Mpumalanga province in South Africa, 60 km north of Pretoria. The school was founded in 2010 as an outgrowth of two short-term mission trips by groups of Americans in 2005 and 2007. The school was established with 20 students to serve vulnerable children who had lost parents to the AIDs epidemic. Currently, MCA has 8 grades with 190 students, a staff of 17 and an annual budget of $150,000.

Our administration building at MCA

Meet Our Students & Teachers

Meet the students - and teachers - of our model school, Musawenkosi Christian Academy

Get a glimpse of the history, life and community at Musawenkosi Christian Academy by browsing our timeline and the linked videos featuring our talented students, dedicated teachers, and committed friends. Located in the Kwamhlanga township of Mpumalanga province in South Africa, our school serves 190 students across 8 grades. At Musawenkosi Christian Academy, our mission is to integrate the innovative technology of the Cardano blockchain platform into our educational approach, with the goal of improving both school and student performance.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our community.

MCA classroom-min

MCA Blog: Students, Teachers, and Friends


Meriam Mnguni - MCA Former Principal.  She started working as a Principal at MCA in 2010 when the school started. She rendered her services until 2019. She was more focused on creating more Leaders not more followers. That is one thing we had learned from her. Most of the MCA employees had learned a lot from her. She inspired everyone to have confidence in themselves. On the 13th November 2023, she came to plant a tree at our new school. This showed that she still loves us including everyone attached to the MCA. She said, " This is a beautiful school, may you all take care of it and plant more trees and flowers as a symbol of life". We...

MCA’s HIS-story: A timeline of God’s redemptive vision planted in the hearts and minds of his people

Mukhanyo Theological College was founded by Pastor Flip Buys in Kwamhlanga, during a time of the AIDS epidemic in Africa. This later led to the establishment of the Mukhanyo Community Development Centers, which provided after-school tutoring and meals to vulnerable children in five community centers. The idea for the Mukhanyo Christian Academy (MCA) was born in 2007, and after several years of planning, the school opened in January 2010 with 20 students. MCA's mission is to provide students with a Christ-centered education and prepare them for the challenges of the 21st century.


Four black pastors issue a call to an Africaan’s pastor, Flip Buys, to start a Bible school in KwaMhlanga, South Africa.


Mukhanyo Theological College (MTC) is founded during a period when the AIDS epidemic is raging in South Africa.


Mukhanyo Community Development Centers (MCDC) is founded, providing after school tutoring and 1000 meals daily, 2 meals a day to 100 vulnerable children in each of 5 community centers, for 365 days a year.


  • On a short-term mission to MTC and MCDC, Ed Rettig was so impressed he wrote a three-page essay: Building Bridges between Black and White, Rich and Poor, Africans and Americans.


On a return trip in 2007 with his wife and five others, Beth Rettig voiced her vision for building a school straddling the theological college and the feeding/tutoring centers.


The Rettigs, Flip Buys, and Melanie Prinsloo in a meeting in Chapel Hill, NC, agree to the idea of building a school in KwaMhlanga on property leased from MTC.


A committee is established to study its feasibility; Beth is diagnosed with Ovarian cancer; her battle, fought for 20 months, is described in Ed’s book: Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, The Story of one Woman’s Heroic Battle with Ovarian Cancer.


Before her death, Beth recruits Keith Brown as CEO to direct and manage the building of MCA. Beth dies in October 2009; $70,000 is raised at her memorial service; the principal and first teacher are hired.


Three months after Beth’s memorial service, MCA opens in January 2010 with 20 students in Grades R (kindergarten) and first grade. A miracle!

Starting Mukhanyo Christian Academy


Ed and Keith begin a series of annual visits to MCA and Keith initiates entrepreneurial projects for funding MCA with profits from commercial enterprises including shopping centers and affordable housing.


Morgan Lewis, Ed’s granddaughter, starts the Run for Mukhanyo, a program of “Kids Helping Kids”, to raise funds for the new school, Mukhanyo Christian Academy.

Morgan's Story


The full story of the Run for Mukhanyo, an event that has occurred every year since and continues to this day.

The Run for Mukhanyo


More historical background on the founding of MCA and its status by Ed Rettig four years into the project. In this video from 10 years ago you will hear the first mention of MCA becoming A Model School.

History and update on Mukhanyo Christian Academy


Boy Scout Troop 880 of Chapel Hill, NC visits MCA during their summer/Christmas vacation and conducts a camping experience for our students.

Troop 880 providing a camp experience for MCA students


Students from the USA and Africa giving thanks during a trip over Thanksgiving. 

Giving thanks at MCA over Thanksgiving


In October Ed Rettig discovers and invests in Cardano’s ADA and learns of Charles Hoskinson’s vision for impacting Africa.

The Decisive Factor: Charles Whiteboard Presentation


Ed visits his seminary roommate in Scotland who donates $50,000, which is invested in Cardano’s ADA as the beginning of an endowment for MCA.


In February at a blockchain conference in San Francisco, Ed meets Charles Hoskinson, tells of our involvement in Africa, and is referred to John O’Connor in Ethiopia.

John O'Connor reporting on student identity program in Ethiopia


Charles Hoskinson visits Keith’s Indlu Living, an affordable housing project in South Africa, about which Charles had this to say:

Charles comments on the uniqueness of Indlu


Cardano’s Project Catalyst initiates a series of funds to motivate innovation and encourage adoption of the Cardano blockchain protocol.

Check out Project Catalyst


Because of Covid, the tribal chief in KwaMhlanga is forced to close his school and offers the property for sale to MCA. The site is purchased by Friends of Mukhanyo and Word & Deed.


From Project Catalyst Ed Rettig wins a $40,000 grant in Fund6 to merge key elements of Cardano’s protocol with MCA in amodelschool.com. Training of teachers commences.

Project Catalyst Grant #1: MCA: A Model School in South Africa


Construction of new school facility begins in January 2022 and is finished in late January 2023.



A second of grant of $60,000 from Project Catalyst in Fund9 for continuation of the project to merge Cardano with MCA.

Project Catalyst Grant #2: MCA: A Model School in SA - Part II


MCA opens the new school year in its new premises on February 1, 2023.


Training of teachers as implementers conducted by Ed and his son, Austin, introduces the team to Cardano’s light wallet, Eternl. Website design for amodelschool.com begun in November 2022 continues in the new year.

2023 and BEYOND


  • A computer lab and Cardano training program?
  • Smart contract and reward system for learning the Biblical worldview and ethics?
  • Training program in Cardano’s light wallet for parents of students?
  • More smart contracts in more subjects?
  • FirstRoot programs in Participatory Budgeting and financial literacy?
  • More schools signing up to become A Model School?