A bold band of people
A HUMANE approach is required towards attaining a positive resolution to the impasse involving the authorities and the highly proactive Limpopo community that has established a school operating under the trees.
These concerned citizens took a brave decision: they pulled their children out of schools that were too far from their village because of the related long distances and inherent dangers including molestation and or worse.
Community builders of this rare type always face opposition from myopic leaders. As matters stand the Education Department has dug in its heels, refusing to recognise the school, but offering to provide scholar transport - precisely the service that led to the current situation.
Both the schools that the children previously attended are more than five kilometres from the village, so - after the department had inexplicably terminated the scholar transport - the parents, led by the local headman, persuaded volunteer teachers to rally round and a former security guard to act as headmaster.
While not one of the mentors has qualifications close to a degree, it is their enthusiasm, compassion and nation-building spirit that should be rewarded.
Instead the government is threatening the "illegal" school with closure, as if not recognising the kids' credentials at the end of the year were not the harshest form of punishing initiative.
In the middle of national Children's Week festivities, leaders are being seen - in a way - as trampling on children's rights to protection from harm, including unnecessary over-exertion, citing walking long distances as a clear illustration.
While the authorities are decrying the lack of sanitation and a building to house the classes, cases of public schools operating under trees still abound, making Selowe Primary School in Senwabarwana - formerly Bochum - no exception at all.
Children's rights pertaining to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination, meaning in short that they have a right to safe places, constructive child rearing practices or behaviour, are exactly what the parents, volunteer teachers and principal are boldly endeavouring to provide.
Winter's biting cold and summers' rainy days are on the horizon. Providing mobile classrooms and seconding a few professional teachers forthwith to help at the school is a better option for the department, because at a certain point in their lives in the future the affected children will remember, and will forgive no one.