For the past three months there have been ongoing violent protests in the Vuwani area ahead of the municipal elections held earlier this month. Several schools were torched during the unrest. But now, after several weeks of no school, pupils are happy to be learning again – with teaching taking place in burnt classrooms, mobile classrooms and other makeshift facilities.
“After missing so many months of learning it feels good to be back at school, even though it will take some time for us to get used to being in class from 7am until late. It is better that we are back at school,” said Makhadzi Masindi, a grade 10 pupil at Vhafamadi Secondary School.
After missing so many months of learning it feels good to be back at school, even though it will take some time for us to get used to being in class from 7am until late. It is better that we are back at school.
“As pupils we are prepared to work hard with our teachers to try and make up for the time we lost over the past few months. So far the teachers are being so helpful. They are doing all they can to try and help us to make up for the time we lost,” said Masindi.
Vuwani pupils missed three months of schooling due to continuous protests in the area which left about 24 schools burned and damaged. Residents of Vuwani were protesting against a decision by the Demarcation Board to incorporate their area into the newly established Malamulele Municipality in the Vhembe district.
Spokesperson for the Limpopo Department of Education, Dr Naledzani Rasila, said that the department will do all they can to try and make sure that learners are helped in their efforts to make up for the time they lost, even if this meant they to make school days longer and require pupils to work extra hours.
“Even if they say that we must also come to the school on Sundays, I will definitely come as I want to pass. I do not want to repeat the same grade again next year,” said Mashudu Munyai, who is a doing grade 11 at Vhafamadi Secondary School.
“It is now up to us as learners to play our role, which is to study hard and put the months we lost behind us. We cannot sit down and complain because that will not help. But we can look up and draw inspiration to work hard to recover and make up for the time we lost.”
Department of Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said: “We are happy that our pupils are back at school. We are working hard to make sure that we provide mobile classrooms to all the affected schools, as we value the education of our children.”