The dream of having hall has come through for the teachers and pupils of Masiyile High School in Khayelitsha.
The school proudly opened the doors to their new R7.2 million hall when it was officially handed over by the donors, the Garden Cities Archway Foundation, together with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) at a ceremony on Saturday June 1.
Built in 1987, Masiyile High was one of around 600 schools in the Western Cape that do not have a school hall, which teachers believe is an essential resource. The school serves more than 1 000 pupils.
Principal Sisa Sodlaka said they had managed to steal the hearts of the donors and the department of education. It was also thanks to the hard work of his staff and members of the community that the school had the hall built.
The hall is one of the nearly 100 built by the Garden Cities Archway Foundation in the past 12 years.
An excited Mr Sodlaka said gatherings held out in the open and difficulties to host fundraisers would now be a thing of the past.
Mr Sodlaka said the hall was available to all who wanted to use, but it would not be cheap.
He said he was excited that the school would be able to raise funds through the hall.
He said having a hall after 31 years of the school’s existence was a dream come through.
“What impressed me during the construction of the hall was that we were always treated as partners not as juniors by the donors. They always contacted us and discussed with us,” he said.
His words were echoed by his deputy Sidima Kese.
In thanking the donors, the community and all those who made the day possible, Mr Kese said it had been difficult to operate without a hall, but now new possibilities had opened up for the school.
The donors and the WCED called for the protection of the hall by not only the school, but the community as well. And the school governing body promised to look after the hall.
Garden Cities group chief executive officer John Matthews said there was still a long way to go to address inequality in terms of facilities at schools.
However, he said his company was close to building 100 halls in celebration of its 100 years of existence.
Mr Matthews also emphasised the need for business involvement to provide the rest of the much needed school halls.
“Despite the difficulties that we encounter in our communities, the parents and teachers committed themselves in this project. A school hall is intended to be a meeting place for pupils and the community.
The school and the community must take ownership of this facility. This brings dignity to our children, and it is through education that we will shackle poverty. I hope the pupils, teachers and the parents will protect this facility,” said Mr Matthews.
He said the directors of Garden Cities decided in 2003 to establish the Archway Foundation, to address as far as possible, the inequalities in facilities for the Cape’s disadvantaged communities.
He said that initially the funds for the halls had come entirely from the earnings of the residential development company that celebrates its centenary this year.
However, he said recently, the WCED had partnered with the Archway which had sped up the project.
Metro East circuit manager, Mark Mofoking, appealed to the community to protect the hall so that generations to come should find it in the same condition.
“The structure will be here long after us. We are custodians of what we have. My wish for you is, may this hall still look like this in the next 100 years. We must all take responsibility to protect it,” he said.