A long walk to education: Children’s 14km slog to school

Parents and pupils from Kraaifontein are forced to walk marathon 
distances to and from school. Picture: Solly Lottering

Cape Town – Learners who live in Kraaifontein are having to walk a marathon 14km round trip to school in Scottsville after their government school bus was stopped last year.

The group of about 50 children are all from Bonnie Brae Estate and the parents themselves have to walk 28km (four trips) to and from Petunia Primary School, Scottsville Primary School and Scottsville High School.

The Daily Voice did the journey with the parents and kids this week and tracked them as they navigated their way through bushes and busy main roads.

Mother of four Geraldine Cleophas says she fears for the safety of her children. The youngest one is just six years old.

“I don’t want to deny my children an education because the school decided to stop the bus in November from picking up the children in Bonnie Brae,” she says.

“We have to walk 28km every day, our children 14km. How is that right? My kids and I are in danger because someone decided we were not worthy of a bus.

“I want to know if one of us must be hurt or killed before someone realises how wrong it is.

“My children’s feet and mine are full of blisters, but we want them to have an education.”

Picture: Solly Lottering

Another mother, Sara Engelbrecht, 44, says she walks with her three children because she has no other choice.

“They go to three different schools in the area, namely Petunia Primary School, Scottsville Primary School and Scottsville High School. When we try to cross the busy Brighton Road, the drivers are very impatient and we have to run for our lives. This is why I can’t let them walk alone,” she says.

One of the little kids tells the Daily Voice they have to walk through gang-ridden areas where people get shot all the time.

The families all fear for their lives.

The Daily Voice spoke to the Western Cape Education Department who confirmed that the bus service was stopped by Scottsville Primary School.

Spokesperson Millicent Merton said: “About 20 learners from Bonnie Brae were transported to Scottsville Primary School last year. The school informed parents last year that transport will not be provided this year because Scottsville Primary School is not the nearest school to their residence.”

Daily Voice

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