The 20-kilometre walk to school for the children of Mathenjwa tribal community in the Endabeni area of Ingwavuma in northern Zululand is now a thing of the past.
The children had to walk through a forest to get to the only high school in the area. They were forced to stay home during the rainy season.
The KwaZulu-Natal department of agriculture and environmental affairs, through its nature conservation entity, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, handed over a high school to the community yesterday.
The school was built for the community through the Community Levy Fund, a social responsibility programme of Ezemvelo.
The community, near the Indumo Game Reserve, took possession of the three-classroom structure at an official handing-over ceremony yesterday. Overjoyed parents said they have "peace of mind" now that their children have a high school in their own area.
MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs Mtholephi Mthimkhulu said his department was not responsible for building schools but in this instance had used the fund to help build the much-needed high school.
"We have injected more than R500000 into the building of this school. We have installed solar panels to provide energy. We also gave the school 10 computers that we hope will inspire and encourage the pupils," he said.
Zodwa Mngomezulu, a parent with two children at the school, said her children were forced to stay home when it rained.
"Our children are going to do well in their studies now that they will be able to arrive at school on time every day without fearing the dangerous animals from the game reserve. The rain will also no longer stop them" said Mngomezulu.