Another ASIDI school opens far from the madding crowd
There is a turn off to Manzimahle about 10 km from Cala deep in the Eastern Cape. You get on to a gravel road that winds its way down in to the valley crossing two streams on two narrow bridges. As you twist and turn in the lush green rolling hills and valleys, you see a solitary falcon soaring and gliding above picturesque villages. Horses roam free to add to the picture of paradise and exactly 20 kilometres later, you arrive at your destination. The nearest major town, Queenstown is 100km away. Heukile Senior Primary school is in the middle of the proverbial nowhere.
Yet nowhere is too far for the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative more popularly known by its acronym ASIDI. Government officials from local government and Pretoria descended on the school on Friday 5 February to present an early valentine present to the community. It was the occasion of the official opening of Heukile Senior Primary School.
Built at a cost of just over R11 million, the school stands proudly in a valley facing an imposing mountain. The school stares back with pride with its state of the art facilities taking it out of the shadow of the mountain and standing tall in the community. At a time when the country is ravaged by drought, Heukile has 16 rain water harvesting tanks, decent sanitation and all the add ons we have come to associate with ASIDI. A place that is theirs. A place they can boast about because there is a rival in the neighbourhood.
In rural areas when you ask for directions, you are told the place you are looking for is just over the hill when it is actually 10km away. Well, on the other side of the valley is Mtingwevu Primary School built at a boastful cost of R18 million along with local bragging rights. Yes, ASIDI who seems to have taken on a persona in the Eastern Cape has been here before. ASIDI is all over the Eastern Cape like freckles on a beautiful face. But we digress. The attention belongs to another place of beautiful landscapes. After all, if your name is Manzimahle an early valentine’s present is not out of place!
135 ASIDI schools have been completed nationwide to date. Weekly official openings will continue as communities continue to celebrate their dividend of democracy.