Hundreds of pupils, teachers and community members in Dimbaza braved the cold weather on the weekend when Dimbaza Primary celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Dimbaza Primary is the oldest school in the Dimbaza area and was formed at the height of forced removals by the apartheid government, when people were removed from Middleburg and Burgersdorp and dumped at Dimbaza.
Addressing the crowd, Sadtu founding member and the union’s former provincial secretary, MPL Mxolisi Dimaza, congratulated the school community, saying few schools, especially in townships and villages, had reached this milestone.
Dimaza applauded the role played by former teachers, pupils and parents in improving the school’s infrastructure and organising the anniversary celebration.
Dimbaza encouraged other schools to also mimic such gestures.
“It is critical that as parents and former pupils we check how we can assist the schools that shaped our careers. Parents and alumni need to improve the level of engagement with school affairs,” he said.
Nontembiso Nyikana, the very first teacher to be appointed at the school, shared a story on how pupils had starved while walking to Mnqesha village from the Dimbaza school, which was more than 10km away.
She applauded the teachers and pupils who were dedicated to teaching and learning.
“Those times were difficult but we managed to stand the test of time and today we are celebrating the good fruits we planted in those trying times,” she said.
Zingisile Maloyi, one of the pupils who travelled to Dimbaza for the celebration, echoed Nyikana’s story, adding that the support from teachers and faith had kept them strong.
“When we were forcibly removed, the apartheid government thought they were putting us in the lion’s den but we managed to prosper.
“This is a great achievement. Former pupils and teachers, as well as current ones, should not take this for granted,” said Maloyi.
School principal Malusi Manyela gave heartfelt thanks and praise for the contributions made by the community and alumni.
Manyela said their involvement in school matters made him and the school stronger.
He said after the school had realised that the grant given by the department of education was “not enough”, the school, together with the community, had decided to raise funds to improve and beautify the premises.
The school still faces infrastructure challenges, including toilets which are unusable.
Dimaza urged the community to appeal to ANC chief whip Mzoleli Mrara, whose constituency includes Dimbaza, to assist the school.