After 17 years of teaching and learning in corrugated iron buildings that were hot in summer and freezing in winter, pupils and teachers at two schools in Inanda, near Durban, now have proper buildings.
The schools were built at a cost of R48million. The community's struggle to have decent schools - a primary and high school - for their children finally paid off. A further R70000 will be spent on library books for the schools.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for education Ina Cronje yesterday officially handed over the two new schools - Sithabile High School and uThando Public Primary School - to the community.
The Inanda area has a high crime rate and many among the community have said that the lack of good resources and decent buildings had led to the increased number of school drop-outs over the past few years.
Zinhle Mtambo, a community member, said the new buildings would definitely motivate drop-out youths to return to school and also to later train as teachers.
"It's a beautiful place to work in, a stunning school to study at and the number of educated people in this community are certainly going to rise," Mtambo said.
Thuthukani Mncwabe, the principal of Uthando Primary School, said: "We are excited to get a beautiful school to teach in - after having taught under the trees and tin structures for many years."
Teachers and pupils yesterday said goodbye to the "Pozzi huts", as they used to refer to the old schools.
The teachers would sometimes teach under the trees because of the unbearable heat and cold of the corrugated iron classrooms.
The MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, Mtholephi Mthimkhulu, once taught at both these schools.
Describing how unbearable the temperatures were at the school, Mthimkhulu said that despite these conditions, the pupils that went through his hands today held important positions in society. He said this showed that they could achieve good results, despite the hardships.
Cronje cautioned the teachers that now that they had a modern school, the challenge ahead was to strive for quality education.
"These schools look beautiful and I am sure that they are going to boost both the morale of both the teachers and learners.
"But the challenge ahead is to produce beautiful results - like your schools."