Instead of a grassy sports field, some pupils have an old graveyard for a playground.
Stafford Primary School at Franklin, near Kokstad in southern KwaZulu-Natal, is at a disused church on land made available by a local farmer. Teachers are also offered free lodgings on the property.
Locals said the Education Department has failed to provide adequate facilities because there are too few children attending the school.
The school has two teachers and only 40 pupils. Many pupils drop out because of the school's location.
Department officials visited schools in the area at the weekend as part of the Back to School Campaign, which was launched to establish the plight of pupils in the region's farm schools. They were shocked and vowed to rectify the situation.
Principal Leah Harris said the situation was not conducive to learning.
Last year the corpse of a church member lay exposed to pupils in a classroom for a whole day while waiting for family members to bury it.
Children spoke of hunger pains and of fainting during class.
Harris said some children walk more than 10km from their homes and arrive at school exhausted.
"Some can't even eat at their homes because there is no food."