Witbank High lends a hand at flood-stricken KZN school

Witbank High lends a hand at flood-stricken KZN school
BLESSED IS THE HAND: Learners and staff members of Witbank High School on Friday 10 June travelled more than 600km to donate money raised as well as items of clothing to Tholulwazi High School. The school in Molweni, south of Durban, was one of the worst affected by the floods in April. PICTURE Supplied

The staff travelled all the way from Witbank to Durban to offer help to their peers who are still struggling to return their lives to normalcy following the tragic April floods.

The principal of Witbank High School led a team of his staff and learners to Tholulwazi High School in KZN to lend a hand to the pupils who found themselves as victims of the recent floods that ravaged Durban and other parts of that province in April 2022.

Witbank High School principal Oskin Usinga said they were reduced to tears during their visit at the school when pupils began reciting poems telling of the loss of their loved ones during floods.

Tholulwazi High School is one of the 271 schools in KZN that were affected by the April floods.

Witbank High lends a hand at flood-stricken KZN school
The road to Tholulwazi

Witbank High School donated a sum of R30 000 to the school and a large number of clothes for pupils and elders.

Witbank High lends a hand at flood-stricken KZN school
Staff made their way to Molweni on Friday to deliver the money raised

Usinga said he identified Tholulwazi High School months back after he heard a pupil from the school being interviewed on SAfm about the disaster.

“As Witbank High we conceived an idea that after we realised that we have 271 schools affected by floods, we better adopt one school,” Usinga told 013NEWS.

40 learners and 12 educators from Tholulwazi had to be airlifted to safety after they spent a night trapped at the school because the bridge they use to cross the river collapsed and the road was washed away by floods. The Grade 12 learners and educators teaching Grade 12 had remained behind for extra tuition on the day the flood hit.

“We were able to fund-raise an amount of R30 000 and a lot of pupils and some community members we told about our trip donated clothes to us so we had a huge trailer,” he said.

Witbank High lends a hand at flood-stricken KZN school
Principal of Witbank High School Oskin Usinga (R) hands over the cheque for R30 000 to the principal of Tholulwazi High School Celumuzi Zama (L)

Tholulwazi High School is located about 30km outside of Durban in Molweni.

Usinga said traveling to Tholulwazi was “scary” as the area is located in mountains.

“When you go to the school you drive 2km down a scary hill. We were so scared but these things we see them on TV and these people live with it on a daily basis,” Usinga said.

He said he was encouraging other schools across South Africa to also adopt an affected school and assist with anything.

013NEWS publisher and chairman of the Nombulelo Foundation Mpumelelo Mashifane, who is a former learner of the school expressed how proud he was by the simple yet highly impactful humanitarian effort shown by the school in a disaster that impacted so many of the poor.

The Nombulelo foundation runs a “Walk Me to School” shoe donation drive and has donated over 300 pairs of school shoes to children in no-fee paying schools since the beginning of 2022.

“This relief effort gave me an immense sense of pride to be a former learner of the school. This act reminded me of the values and traditions that were instilled in me all those years ago in the corridors of Witbank High; kindness, helpfulness and empathy for your fellow human beings,” Mashifane said.

“Mr Usinga has shown that even when we have been blessed with little we can still bless others. He is a shining example that leadership is about action and I think the example he is setting for his learners is something that will go on to distinguish them positively among their contemporaries,” he said.

Usinga took over the reigns at the school about 5 years ago following a learner protest in which learners refused to go to class calling for the removal of the former principal.

“The school has come out of a very bad period where it had experienced a debilitating decline in its academic performance as well its reputation as it struggled with issues of learner discipline and cultural transformation. Mr Usinga has really provided sterling leadership since taking over and Witbank High is again becoming a school of choice in eMalahleni, I think he must be commended for this,” Mashifane said.

Tholulwazi principal Celumuzi Zama on Friday 10 June 2022 called a community meeting and told the parents about he donation from Witbank.

“They were so excited you won’t believe. Kids were reciting poems about how they lost their parents,” Zama said.

(edited by ZK)
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