Children at Empumelelweni School in Forest Village, Eerste River, learn along Old Faure Road as there are no other schools in the area that can accommodate them. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)
Children at Empumelelweni School in Forest Village, Eerste River, learn along Old Faure Road as there are no other schools in the area that can accommodate them. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Rain brings heartbreak for pupils being taught on open field

By Athandile Siyo Time of article published Mar 12, 2021

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Cape Town - Heavy rains and strong winds that hit the Western Cape this week meant that about 480 schoolchildren from the informally erected Empumelelweni School in Forest Village, Eerste River, could not enjoy their liberty of learning.

Pupils from the community-initiated school from Grades R up to matric, are being taught on an open field along Old Faure Road as there are no other schools in the area that can accommodate them – all the schools are full.

The pupils use crates as chairs and some carry buckets of water to drink throughout the day as there are no taps nearby.

A seven-year-old learner said it made him sad to watch from his window as other children went to school, but he could not as the rain does not allow it. “I always wake up early because I’m excited to see my friends at school, but as I looked through the window, the weather was bad and meant that I can’t go to school like other children,” said the child.

A parent of a child who attends the make-shift school, Nolizwe Ndikandika, said: “It is not by choice that the school was formed, but because we can’t afford to pay for transport. The schools in the area are full and all we are asking for is a school that will cater to the needs of the newly formed community,” she said.

Community-selected principal Zolile Velebhayi said they are trying to work with the department.

Secretary of a school task team, Minky Bashe, said with winter around the corner, the parents are scrambling to find tents and any sort of shelter for the children.

“We are worried about the children because they come to school every day without fail because they want to learn.

“Like any other children, all they want is to go to school and learn to become lawyers and doctors and it is our jobs as parents to ensure that they get the quality education they deserve.

The Western Cape Education Department said that it had originally offered various alternatives in which to place the children – both primary and high school. “Every offer was denied, or it was on condition that we use their existing teachers and create a new school on the premises of another,” the department said.

Anyone who can assist the school is urged to call Velebhayi on 062 609 9863.

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