Tears, fears and some light
in the darkness
In the rural Eastern Cape, about 100 kilometres and an hour-and-a-half’s drive apart, are two schools, both categorised below quintile three on the school categorisation system56, which means they are located in extremely poor communities and learners do not have to pay school fees. Based on the matric pass rate alone, one of these schools is achieving fairly good learner outcomes, which are steadily improving each year; the other is technically failing. Mthatha journalist, Ziyanda Zweni, spent a week at each school, staying with an educator from each school for the week. Her mission was to observe and share what it’s like on a day-to-day basis in schools operating under difficult circumstances – especially as a teacher.
At one school she found a principal who is inspiring the teachers, learners and broader community to make lemonade out of lemons; at the other, a space that remains haunted by shadows of poor practices from the past – where the new principal and teachers are fighting a daily battle to turn the ship around.
Welcome to Gwebityala Senior Secondary School in Elliotdale and
LM Malgas Secondary School in Willowvale. We ask that you reserve your judgement and use your imagination to share in the experiences of the teachers and learners over the next few pages – they do it every day.