Different grades share a mud box

2010-02-14 12:22

A MUD box. That is the only way to describe the four walls and mud

floor that 40 pupils and an assortment of desks are crammed into.

It’s surreal, like stepping directly into the horrors of apartheid

era Bantu education 20 years ago.

The situation at Kuyasa Junior Secondary School has gone from bad

to desperate since a tornado ­destroyed much of the school on ­December 22 last


Already without electricity, ­water and ­proper toilets, the 276

­pupils that ­returned to the school this year have been crammed into the only

surviving mud structures. Different grades share a room.

The school’s head of the maths ­department, Xolile Ncwadi, asks:

“It is very hard. I am supposed to do maths and the other teacher comes with

science. How can I teach a subject like maths in this way?’’

 He apologises for

being unable to offer us a drink, not even water. The ­nearest tap is outside

the school premises. The department installed solar panels but they were


The school has to follow an ambitious curriculum that includes

­subjects such as arts and culture and technology. Ncwadi just shrugs when asked

how pupils ­actually learn with such limited resources.

So why do teachers even bother coming back? Besides the fact that

it would mean his family would starve if he gave up his job, Ncwadi points to a

distant hill: “Some pupils come from behind that hill, it’s a ­distance of 10km

to 12km. If we don’t come the next school is another 5km away.’’

While another teacher is hopeful that the department will send help

soon, Ncwadi looks at the mud walls behind him dejectedly: “This school was

established in 1990 already,” he says

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