In 2020 the school has 448 girls and 446 boys enrolled with 24 teaching staff. There are 19 classrooms at the school, however two of these have lost their roof and are not in use at present, until the Government repair them.
Nkomo Primary School Classrooms
KwaZulu Natal (KZN) is home to 19.9% of South Africa’s population, making it the second most populated province after Gauteng. KZN has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the country at 25.8% compared to the national prevalence of 13.5%. Unemployment stats for the first quarter of 2019 indicate that KZN has 42.4% unemployment. Unemployment stats for the first quarter of 2019 indicate that KZN has 42.4% unemployment. KZN consists of 10 District Municipalities of which Mnqobokazi community, located close to Phinda Private Game Reserve falls within second largest – uMkhanyakude District, at 13,855km². Due to the landscape of this region and its numerous conservation parks, the Districts key economic sectors are tourism, trade and agriculture. The local Municipality governing Mnqobokazi community is called Big 5 Hlabisa, and is characterized by poor infrastructure, particularly in the areas of water, electricity sewage, sanitation and solid waste services. The population of Big 5 Hlabisa is approx. 112,000, of which 31% have their matric qualification and only 7% have continued into tertiary education. More than half of households are female-headed and almost 30% are informal structures.
About Nkomo School
In 1997 a woman named Mrs. Zikhali began teaching children, desperate to access education, under the shade of a tree; “We had just one tree for shelter and when a flood blocked our passage for 2 months, we had to move”. Relocating to a new site that benefited from many trees shading her sixty learners, Mrs. Zikhali sought a more permanent structure for her school and in 1999 she applied to Africa Foundation for support.
Having accepted her proposal, the generous support of Africa Foundation donors enabled the first 2 classrooms of Nkomo School to be constructed in 2000. Thereafter, through the commitment and determination of Mrs. Zikhali, school enrolment and infrastructure kept on growing. By 2006, six new classrooms had been added and the school boasted an enrolment of almost 800 children.
Observing that children were often absent, due to the effect of HIV/AIDS on family life, Mrs. Zikhali secured funding to build a center for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), based at Nkomo School, that served the whole community; “I thought if we could create a center where these children could receive a meal and be cared for after school without having to return to an empty house, the quality of their lives might improve”.
Under Mrs. Zikhali’s progressive leadership, Nkomo School was awarded the titles of Health Promoting School, and Full-Service School. Such schools are equipped to provide for the full range of learning, mental and physical health needs of learners.
Why More Classrooms?
In 2020 the school has 448 girls and 446 boys enrolled with 24 teaching staff. There are 19 classrooms at the school, however two of these have lost their roof and are not in use at present, until the Government repair them. This leaves classes being taught outdoors, under the shade of the tree – returning to the original basic state of the school, while other classes have more than 60 students on one room. The result of COVID-19 social distancing precautions is that schools in South Africa should have a maximum of 20 students per classroom – which is impossible for rural schools such as Nkomo to achieve.
Ambitious plans were designed for Nkomo School when it moved to the current site, which Mrs. Zikhali still has hung in the entrance of the school admin office – to keep focus on the dream.
An additional two classrooms will be positioned on the east side of the plot, beginning the construction of that block.