Phambili High School principal Londa Luthuli points to the building that was ‘reclaimed’ after pupils, parents and occupants clashed last week. The rooms have been converted into classrooms to cater for the growing pupil numbers. Picture: Livanya Gramoney/African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN - Phambili High School in Rossburgh has added a set of new classrooms for its growing population, after clashes between pupils, parents and residents last week.

“We received a lot of negative publicity over the incident, but people don’t realise what had happened before that,” said principal Londa Luthuli.

The school has long been in a battle to “reclaim” ownership of a small building located across the road. Luthuli said he had come to learn that the building belonged to the school, but had been used as living quarters for residents who had occupied it for several years.

Phambili High School principal Londa Luthuli points to the building that was ‘reclaimed’ after pupils, parents and occupants clashed last week. The rooms have been converted into classrooms to cater for the growing pupil numbers.


“The building belongs to us. However, residents at the building refused to move, basing their argument on the fact that they had been living there for years. And they won a court judgment which stated that the families could not be evicted until authorities provided them with alternate housing,” said Luthuli.

However, last week, parents started cleaning out a few rooms in the building to use as classrooms as the school was overcrowded, with more than 1 000 pupils attending.

“Parents clashed with the residents, and it was not a good thing, but after the police cleared everyone, we all went to the police station and spoke. The residents started moving out of the building to accommodation, I think, they found on their own, and we started cleaning out the rooms to convert into classrooms,” he said.

Now, some pupils will have their lessons across the road, away from the main building.

“It was an unfortunate incident, but we are also happy now that we have the space to give our children extra classrooms. We are between 40 to 50 pupils in a class,” Luthuli said.