Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today I went to see a school in Kagiso, a township near Krugersdorp, about a 40-minute drive out of Johannesburg. It was another world. The secondary school was built under apartheid to serve 1100 students - its headcount is now1800 and enrolments are capped to stop the facilities - and the teachers - being overwhelmed. The structures are attractive enough (helped by the wonderful blue cloud-dotted sky in this warm late spring) but resources, as you'd expect, are severely limited. The older students were sitting their end of year exams (yes, it's the end of the academic year here, before the long summer holiday) so I didn't see much of them, but the primary school kids gave me a riotous welcome - outside, when they were allowed to; in the classrooms they were silent and ominously well-behaved.

The saddest thing was the computer lab - because it had been broken into; the thieves had stolen the hard drives and left the monitors; they sawed through the burglar bars, which must have taken some time. Passing another building, I was shown a wall where thieves had actually smashed through the bricks to get inside. In another place they'd come through the roof. "If you think of a way to stop them, they'll think of another way to get in," was the principal's laconic comment. New PCs are being offered by one of the SA telecomms companies, so they'll be able to try again soon.

Above: a staff meeting; exams in progress; the courtyard; the township; year 2 pose for a photo.

No comments: