For years pupils at Klipfontein Methodist Church Primary School in Philippi East attended class in rooms with caving in ceilings and unpainted walls.
And then, in celebration of Mandela Day – which was commemorated last week – members of the South African Defence Force and sponsors, offered their help to give the school a bit of a facelift.
Renovations done included upgrades to the bathrooms, the erection of fencing around the school, and the construction of a ramp.
Classrooms’ roofs were fitted with new gutters and painted. On Tuesday July 25, as the upgraded facility was handed over to the school community, Colonel Zithulele Mpushula praised his members for a sterling job.
He said the school had been identified by one of his members who had attended the school when he was young.
“This is shows that we are not in an island, we live with people. Today is a great day, we just want to show the kids that we believe in them.
“We want them not only to know us as a gun carrying people. Some only see us in uniforms and probably heard bad news about us. But today they will know that we are part of them. We want them to long to join the force too,” he said.
A couple of residents attended the ceremony, including Chiefs from Amadumisa.
The Chiefs, led by Nkosi Zanomthetho Gebana, said they were impressed with the kind of work the army had done to uplift the communities.
Nkosi Gebana said: “The army is doing a good job in our communities. But I am say to you, there is more partnership coming and more work to do with them,” he said.
The overjoyed school principal Cliff Zimri has encouraged more private companies to partner with government to improve the state of schools.
“They have done a sterling work not only for the school but for the community. I would love to keep them here for days but money is an issue.
“I want to thank them for what they have done. Our school was not in a good state at all. I do not have much words to thank them,” he said.