Catch-up camp for Khutsong pupils

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Khutsong pupils starved of education for months on Wednesday jostled to collect forms for a catch-up camp starting on Monday next week.

The camp is organised and funded by North West's education department to help matriculants prepare for their final examinations.

Parents, pupils and representatives from the department packed the Khutsong Community Hall on Wednesday to discuss logistics for the camp.

Eager pupils stampeded for forms when they were distributed. Some jumped the queue and pushed those who were positioned near the front.

"Everything is ready. We are waiting for the forms to be returned," said Shadrack Mvula, regional manager for the department.

Pupils will undergo two months of intensive preparations for the exams. They will remain at the camp until they have written all their examinations.

Protests led by the SACP in Khutsong have used pupils as shock troops in a battle against the government's decision to incorporate the area into North West. Pupils and teachers who tried to return to class have been attacked and intimidated, while classrooms have been trashed and burnt down.

The protests have kept students out of class for four months.

"You will breath, eat and sleep education," Mvula told the excited pupils.

He said the department would not force parents to release their children for the camp in Taung.

"As it is in the interest of your child, we request that you support the department and your child to make this project a success," he said.

Pupils must bring textbooks, school uniforms and toiletries.

Sibusiso Kula, a matric student at Badirile High School and president of the Students' Representative Council, has been encouraging his peers to return to class despite the intimidation and attacks.

"We will not let anyone dictate our future," he said. "We are going to Taung."

Thami Makhubela, a Grade 12 pupil from Relebogile High School, said they have lost a lot of time.

"This is a challenge, but I'm willing to fight," he said.