Pupils cross thug terrain for education

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

A community in Limpopo fears for the safety of its children who have to face criminals every day because they have to wake up before the break of dawn to walk to school.

The community of GaMohokone in Bolobedu said their children have been subjected to attacks by criminals while walking to school and when returning home.

The village, situated about 20km outside Modjadjiskloof, is one of the oldest villages in the area. GaMohokone has a primary school only. After completing primary school, pupils have to walk more than 5km to the nearest villages to attend high school. Some villages that were established long after GaMohokone have high schools.

Applications made to the provincial department of education for high schools have allegedly been turned down.

Community leader Wellington Selomo told Sowetan yesterday that pupils pursuing secondary education have to walk, sometimes through thick bushes, to neighbouring villages to attend school.

Selomo said some of the female pupils have been raped while en route to or from school by thugs laying in wait."The situation is just not conducive for our children to get an education. Having come so far in our democracy, our children should not be suffering," he said.Selomo, who is also chairman of the community policing forum in the village, said it was getting so bad that they could no longer protect their children."Of grave concern also is the fact that the pupils were not provided with scholar transport," Selomo added.He said they had informed the education department of these problems in 2003. "Officials had promised to build us a secondary school but nothing has been forthcoming."Ndo Mangala, provincial education department spokesman, said: "We will send officials to the village and, based on their recommendations, we will take it from there."en route to or from school by thugs laying in wait.

"The situation is just not conducive for our children to get an education. Having come so far in our democracy, our children should not be suffering," he said.

Selomo, who is also chairman of the community policing forum in the village, said it was getting so bad that they could no longer protect their children.

"Of grave concern also is the fact that the pupils were not provided with scholar transport," Selomo added.

He said they had informed the education department of these problems in 2003.

"Officials had promised to build us a secondary school but nothing has been forthcoming."

Ndo Mangala, provincial education department spokesman, said: "We will send officials to the village and, based on their recommendations, we will take it from there."

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