South Africa: An Oasis of Hope - Wild Coast School 'Truly Our Chance to Make the Most of the Little We Have Been Given'

In an impoverished community, a well-run primary school breaks the cycle of violence and poverty.

It's 12:05 at Ithuba Wild Coast Community College and there's a blur of green and grey uniforms as the pupils tear it up at break-time.

Soccer balls and skipping ropes fly. Good-natured cries and laughter fill the air on an unusually warm winter's day.

From the shade of a lean-to used to store gardening tools and appliances, Phakamani Ngeleka, the school caretaker, takes it all in, pink tiffin-box in hand.

Caretaker Phakamani Ngeleka wants to the see Ithuba Wild Coast Community College extended to high school level. (Photo: Mlu Mdletshe)

Most days at this time, Ngeleka takes a rest from replacing lights, connecting pipes and nursing the garden.

"This is what I love to see," he says. "Kids running around in safety. It makes me very happy."

Break-time play is something the 32-year-old experienced all too briefly himself.

He left school after Grade 5, but the man from Mabhanoyini village, in Mzamba, does not dwell on the past.

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