Hope for KZN school pupils who face crocs and hippos on their way to class
The first waterborne ferry dedicated to transporting children to school – over a crocodile and hippo-infested lake in the northernmost reaches of KwaZulu-Natal – was launched by the province’s Department of Education on Thursday.
The boat serves to bridge a gap between two communities separated by Lake Kosi Bay. School children had previously braved the water daily‚ wading across in order to get to school.
Primary school children from KwaMazambane on the mainland travel to the nearest primary school on the island‚ and high school pupils from Enkovukeni made the trip to the nearest high school on the mainland‚ often passing in the middle.
Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane said that as isolated as the community was‚ they would not be denied the right to an education.
“Enkovukeni Primary School caters for 32 pupils from Grade R to Grade 7. In this area there are other schools but they are at a distance. As we are doing with this boat‚ we are providing them access to education‚” he said.
He said that the danger of getting to school could not be understated.
“Even today we see the difficulty that these children face everyday. There are hippos in the lake‚” Dlungwane said.
“It is for this reason that we are trying. This is a government for the people by the people.”
There are nearly 200 schools in the province in which scholars are required to traverse water in order to get to class. The ferry‚ powered by petrol motors‚ is manned by a qualified skipper every day.