The longest-surviving school in District Six will at last get a proper fenced playground, for the first time since the buildings round it were bulldozed flat by the apartheid government in the 1970s.
Holy Cross Primary School, situated in what is left of Nile Street, is 107 years old.
It has some 600 pupils, many of whom come from as far afield as Khayelitsha.
When the siren goes off at break time, the children pour out of the school gate on to the adjacent wasteland that abuts Nelson Mandela Boulevard.
The land is rough and stony, dotted with makeshift shelters erected by homeless people. Although the break times are supervised by teachers, they have difficulty keeping track of the youngsters who wander off in all directions.
Last year representations were made to the Cape Town City Council to allocate a portion of the land immediately below the school and the Holy Cross Church Centre to the school on a temporary basis, pending the eventual restitution of the land to families of the original District Six inhabitants. The council has agreed, reserving the right to give the school a year’s notice when the restitution process is completed.
Since then a building contractor, Abri van Deventer, has voluntarily and free of charge provided many tons of infill to level the playing field, literally. The work is still in progress.
Mr Van Deventer is now a member of the working committee formed to complete the levelling, lay down tarmac and erect fencing round the entire allocated area.
The other members are the school’s acting principal, Paul Roussouw; the director of the Catholic Schools’ Office in the Western Cape, Evona Rebelo; the chairman of the school’s governing body, Themba Nondonga, and ourselves, John and Delia Scott, who initiated the project.
We are now looking for someone who is prepared to help us cement and fence the area.
Any old pupils of Holy Cross Primary School who would like to become involved are invited to contact Mr Nondonga at 079 667 9694.