Khanya school shines the light

2015-10-08 06:00
Sharon Dudumashe, deputy principal, Premier Helen Zille, SGB’s Buntu Mbende, Mec Debbie Schäfer and school principal Linda Mahote, cut the ribbon

Mbongiseni Maseko

Sharon Dudumashe, deputy principal, Premier Helen Zille, SGB’s Buntu Mbende, Mec Debbie Schäfer and school principal Linda Mahote, cut the ribbon PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Khanya Primary schoo learners have finally seen the light of day after years of uncertainty.

Premier Helen Zille and Education Mec were part of a contingent that offically declared the new premises open for lessons last Saturday.

Other education luminaries included Glen Van Harte, Metro South District Director, other senior officials from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), principals from other schools, members of School Governing Body (SGB) learners and parents.

The school has its roots way back to 2004, after Naluxolo Primary School in Samora Machel became overcrowded.

Naluxolo was then divided into two schools with Khanya Primary being named Naluxolo Primary no2 and operated in the same premises.

Naluxolo No2 was then temporarily moved around to many other primary schools in different areas such as Mitchells Plain, Gugulethu and Ottery.

At some stage, parents were so miffed at the children being moved around “like sacks of mealie-meal’’ that they barricaded the school and held provincial education officals hostage, demanding a school for their ooifsping to be built.

The parents went to extremes; deciding to keep their children at home for three weeks until their own school was available.

But the impasse was resolved when set dates for the construction of a new school were provided.

In 2014, the construction of Khanya Primary began in earnest.

Linda Mahote, the school principal described their journey as arduous but worth it.

Mahote said it was only after they barged into the offices of the premier without an appointment that their pleas were heard.

“Together with management and members of SGB, we tried several times to get attention from WCED, but we were met with some resistance.”

“After walking into the premier’s office without making an appointment, and, to our surprise, we came back with a promise which was soon put into action.

“The journey that we travelled was not easy. We have been moved to many places. We knocked on the premier’s door and we were surprised to hear that she was unaware of our situation.

She promised us that the construction was going to start in February 2014. What she promised us was something that was true and materialized. Today we have our beautiful school. It has been a long journey,” Mahote said.

She also said their stay in Mitchells Plain was the “worse” experience as the school suffered burglaries “every week.”

Mahote also promised Schäfer that they will “improve the results” at the new school.

She also urged parents to ensure that their children attended school regularly.

Schäfer, who surprised those present with her grasp of Xhosa language, which formed part of her speech, congratulated the teachers and learners for the school.

“Ndiziva ndichwayitile ngokuba lapha, ndikubhiyozele kunye nani ukunikezelwa ngokusesikweni Kwe-Khanya Primary School.

I-Khanya Primary School sisikolo esixabiseke kakhulu kuni bahlali, ngako oko sixabiseni ke nani, nisilondoloze, nisigcine yaye niqinisekise ukuba nisisebenzisa kakuhle nangokufanelekileyo.

Schäfer also urged learners to take advantage of the opportunities the new school, to work hard and participate in extramural opportunities.

Zille urged residents to ensure that the school is in good condition at all times and be free from any kind of vandalism.

“We spend millions of rand every year fixing things that are not broken, but deliberately vandalized. The teachers came to my office to tell me about their story which was a jika majika. I was shocked to hear their story. I could not think of children travelling a long distance in the dark and unsafe environment to school,” Zille said.

She also said the beautiful building does not automatically translate to good results and urged teachers and parents to work hard.

She also emphasized on ensuring that time management is respected.

R54 million was spent on building the school.

The school is going to take learners from the greater Philippi.

Buntu Mbende, chairperson for SGB said they were happy that finally, the day to declare the school open had come.

“We are very proud today that we managed to fight for the school without the assistance of any structure in the area,” Mbende said.

Mbende said their fight for the school began in 2006.

Thembela Ncoso, a parent, said: “I am very happy, because our children had to travel long distances to school. This is a relief to us. They will be safer now here in this school as they closer to their homes,” Ncoso said. Councilor Thembinkosi Pupa said the school is “very safe” as it is situated next to the police training centre

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