Donor pays for renovations at former school Shoddy structure safer, with new ceiling, roof


Donor Zolani Mnqandi,left, launches the renovated Kamastone Primary School building in Kamastone on Thursday,fromleft, Mnqandi principal Mzolisi Mayekiso, Ogopoleng Mushi, Velile Mayekiso,Cedrick Koti, back, Sithembele Gqoboka   Picture: SUPPLIED

A resident of Kamastone has ploughed back by renovating his formerly humble school, Kamastone Primary.

Zolani Mnqandi, who was born and bred in Kamastone, said when things started going well for him in life, he remembered where he had come from.

Mnqandi said when school principal Mzolisi Mayekiso contacted him about the dire situation that the school was operating under, he was only too willing to assist.

What had motivated him, he said, was that he knew he had reached the level he had professionally, because of the foundation he had received at the primary school.

The new renovated Kamastone school building    Picture: SUPPLIED

“Ploughing back to my community also meant that the future of the following generations would be secured,” he said.

In 2018, Mnqandi also donated uniforms to pupils at the school.

“This generation’s situation differs from ours. It kills their confidence when they do not have a proper school uniform and that leads them to drop out of school.”

He said people often complained about the youth being involved with drugs and alcohol, but theycould also play a role in changing this.

“Education is the important element in a person’s life. It sets the basics,”  the donor said.

“It is painful to hear pupils have passed, but cannot go forward for different reasons.

“My wish is for people to look back and contribute where they can in their areas.

“They do not have to do so alone, but as a group,” he said.

Mayekiso said: “When I started as the principal in 2013, the building was in a bad state.

“The school was built by community members before the Ciskei government regime.

“It was categorised as a mud school. We have always used this building with five classrooms. We have no staffroom or office,” he said.

He added that at some stage a temporary prefab structure was erected, while awaiting the construction of  a proper building. He said steps were taken for the department of education to address the problem, but there had been no progress.

“Mnqandi’s heart softened. I asked for a roof, but he went the extra mile. Now we work in a dignified building.

“In the five rooms the asbestos was stripped, a new ceiling and durable IBR zinc were fitted. He had the roof and building painted.

“The only thing we did not bother him with was the floor, which needs tiles,” he said.

However, he said the school still did not have an administration block, which placed its important documents at risk.

Mayekiso added: “Before I became principal at the school we had an incident where a wind caused a window to fly open, it broke and cut a pupil’s face in class.

“This caused serious tension between the parent and the school because teachers were viewed as people who did not care.

“What Mnqnadi did is rare. Most people leave [here] and do not look back . . . “

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