Durban - Two of five children from a Shongweni Dam family whose parents refused to send them to school will finally don uniforms on Monday.
Their parents, Rasjuda, 42, and Motherland Zulu, 34, who had objected to schools’ “diluted curriculums”, have agreed to comply with the law after pressure from the provincial Departments of Social Development and Education.
Thembeka, 11, and Thulile, 8, will go to Edamini Primary School, near their home, on Monday. Their older sister, Thobeka, 16, is to attend a skills school. The other two children are too young to start school.
Ncumisa Fandesi, a spokeswoman for the provincial Department of Social Development, confirmed that the children were going to school, but said there were some loose ends to be tied up.
“There are minor issues the family has asked us to keep confidential, but that will not stop the kids going to school.”
Thembeka stopped going to school in 2009, when she was in Grade 1. She will join the Grade 5 class. Thulile, who has not set foot in a classroom, is to start Grade 3.
Four years ago, the Zulu family decided to take their children out of school because they believed the education system was not satisfactory and did not advocate the word of God.
Motherland Zulu said on Thursday she and her husband were not happy.
“We had no choice but to let them go because the law compelled us.”
Zulu said she had taught her children to read, write and count.
“After assessing the kids, the Department of Education representatives told us which grades they would be suitable for,” she said.
The department had said that Thobeka should go into Grade 6, but her mother said she would not, “as she felt she was too old for the class”.
“We then agreed with the Education Department that she would attend a skills school because she likes doing beadwork,” said Motherland.
Her other children are Salam, 3, and Thando, 1.
Motherland said she and her husband would support their children’s studies, but would continue teaching them about their religion.
The family said they were not Rastafarian, as some people assumed, but Nazareth. Among the prescripts of their faith were that they could not shave their hair, drink alcohol or go near a dead body.
Department spokesman Bhekisisa Mncube said: “We applaud the resolution and thank the parents for reconsidering their decision. We will ensure a smooth transition for the children.”