Sihlekisi Primary School Project
SIHLEKISI (si-lek-e-si) Primary School is situated in a rural area of the South African lowveld near the Orpen Gate into the Kruger National Park. It is on the western side of Sigagule village near the Timbavati Safari Lodge, on the road between Acornhoek and Orpen Gate. Sihlekisi Primary School has been adopted as a community project.
To raise money for repairs and improvements to the Sihlekisi Primary School for the overall benefit of learners.
Consideration was given to forming a community project that could be a partnership between Timbavati Safari Lodge, visiting guests and the nearby community of Sigagule village. The project needed to benefit as many of the people as possible. Timbavati Safari Lodge conducts a ‘village walk’ for guests to view Sigagule village, talk to the people of the village and take photos. Something is needed to be returned to the community for this privilege of viewing their life styles. On the 25th July 2005 a small group of guests, who happened to be professionals in the field of education and learning, had requested a visit to the school.
Those inspirational guests were, Dr. Adrie Visscher, Mr. & Mrs. Mombers and their sons; as well as Mr. & Mrs. van der Made. After watching the guests and the children and looking around the school and later chatting to the guests, the project started to take shape. Sihlekisi School is the only primary school in the area for the children of the Sigagule community and is an ideal candidate for a benefit project that will reach nearly everyone in the community. The people of the area are poor and under-privileged, and most families have children at the primary school.
- Raise the level of awareness of the needs of the school and learners.
- Continue to raise money for the project. Continue to make repairs and improve appearance of buildings and grounds. Improve water output from the borehole, supply a water tank and supply water to the toilet block.
A small school was established near the Mohlogwaneng river, and so named the Mohlogwaneng School. The first principal was Mrs Mhlanga.
The school moved to a place near the present day sight and became known as the Sihlekisi primary school. Being named after Mnisi the tribal ‘nduna’ (a member of the chiefs council) who was an elder in area at that time. The school was a few traditional thatched rooms, and the nearby Lutheran church. The principal was Mr Maake.
Mr. Macson MATHEBULA became principal of the small school. It was at this time that the principal together with members of the community, and assisted by the traditional chief of the area Mr Phillip Mnisi started making bricks and building the older classrooms of the present school.
The Department of Education built six new face brick classrooms, and a large ablution block.
The electoral commission built four new toilets as the school was used as a voting station for the historical elections.
The school’s new principal is Mr Ndlovu, who has been teaching for a number of years at the school and has now been promoted. There are 12 teachers, 12 classrooms, and 350 children attending the school. A teacher to learner ratio is of 1:30. Grades start with grade R (aged about 5 years old) through to Grade 7 (aged about 10-13 years old). A group of elected parents and selected teachers make up the School Governing Body representing the parents of learners. The Department of Education pays for teachers, books and chalk. This is basic and does not cover the real needs of a rural primary school in a financially challenged rural region of South Africa, where the future of the country depends on the best possible education from grass roots. The Department of Health supplies basic food items for cooked lunches for the learners, cooked by parents.
University group staying at Timbavati teamed up together and repainted the classrooms.
Many touch ups of school buildings was done. We were also able to purchase a TV and DVD Player for the school.
Donation by the lodge was made to fix the Storm Damaged Classroom, and format and reload the computers for the learners.
A VERY kind donation from regular lodge guests enabled us to upgrade the Media Centre, fix up 2 classroom ceilings, fix all broken windows around the school, revamp the 20 toilets so they were useable again as they were currently not being used, and also buy some new tables and chairs.
Many guests staying at Timbavati Safari Lodge kindly donated books, pens, paper, soccer balls and bags to the school. Small things like this go along way for the students of Sihleskisi school as many children’s families cannot afford it themselves.
Timbavati Safari Lodge donated funds for the prize giving at the end of this school year. This was greatly appreciated and was used to buy trophies to award the hard working students. We feel this is great encouragement for the students to continue working hard and learning as education is very important to building a better future for our learners.
A kind donation also enabled us to buy paint and supplies to touch up and continue with maintenance of the classrooms
The project is being co-ordinated by Timbavati Safari Lodge, together with the School Governing body and the Principal.