About Hlekweni : Samathonga Primary School

With over 300 pupils, this school on Hlekweni grounds has a library, resourceful staff and came 5th in academic performance in a district of 91 primary schools in 2008 (improving on 6th in 2007).

The school receives no text or exercise books from the government, whose allocations for the school would not buy a single text book (donations from the U.S. have enabled the purchase of some textbooks in 2009). There is also need for appropriate library books, sports, arts and crafts equipment.

A feeding scheme currently funded by British Quakers operates at the school, in response to the problem of food shortages. Funding for a new water storage tank (Sept. 2004) from came from the Leggatt Trust (UK). A new toilet block is needed (a toilet block was built at the school in November 2003, funded by Australian Quakers).

Samathonga staff and pupils


"When we first moved in [in 1967] we found a small community of farm workers living on the farm. They took a while to realise that they were no longer downtrodden servants but valued members of a growing community. The transformation of Anne Dube was an example to us all. With the help of Kupa Ndlovu, he of the green fingers, Roy and Irene were accepted into the local community of farm workers.

At the top end of the farm [is] a shed made out of tar barrels. In it, with no furniture, some 20 children had lessons from an unqualified teacher who was paid by the parents (when they could afford to pay). Kupa called the parents together and they agreed to build a proper classroom with bricks made by Bobo and to employ a qualified teacher. So Samathonga school was born with Emily Sibanda as its first teacher."

Roy Henson - 'Hlekweni: the history' from 'The Importance of People'

New Water Storage Tank - September 2004

In 2004 the Leggatt Trust (UK) donated 1900 for the cost of furnishing a secondary class and towards the cost of new guttering and pipes, and a new water storage tank to secure water for the extended vegetable garden.

Hlekweni building trainees with the new Samathonga water storage tank (September 2004)

Feeding Scheme

For over ten years Hlekweni has run a feeding scheme at Samathonga, funded by UK Quakers. Hlekweni supplemented this with 2 drip-kits and trained staff in the maintenance of the 2x100m2 plots. A variety of vegetables are grown, and it is hoped that around 2 tons of produce can be grown in 12 months.

The school needs a feeding scheme because the majority of parents (over 70%) are not able to provide their children with an adequate diet. Hungry children are not avid learners. Upward of 30 children arrive at school famished on Monday mornings having had no substantial meal since the previous Friday.

New Toilet Block

Hlekweni trainees completed a new toilet block at the school in November 2003. It was funded by Quaker Service, Australia.

new Samathonga toilet block opening ceremony (November 2003)
picture shows new coordinator officiating (in his famous vetiver grass hat)

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