Polokwane – Some 235 pupils, who usually have to walk long distances to get to school, will now ride to school on brand new bicycles.
The pupils, who walked more than 3km to four different schools within the Aganang municipal area near Polokwane, received the bicycles as part of government’s Shova Kalula Bicycle Project.
“I’m so happy that I finally have a bicycle I can call my own. I used to come to school feeling very tired from walking such a long distance. My shoes and socks always looked dirty because of dust,” said Georgina Malebatja, 16, a Grade 11 pupil from Nokana Ntshwana High School.
Malebatja said the bicycle was a great gift because she would use it to get to school and to stay healthy.
“I will make sure that I take care of this bicycle so that my younger brother can also use it when his time to go to school comes,” she added.
Gibson Phukubye, 16, from Madikweng Secondary School was equally excited. “The bicycle will help me get to morning assembly on time because, in the past, the security guard locked us out when we arrived late. From now on, I might need the keys in case I’m the first to arrive at school,” he chuckled.
The project was first launched in 2001 by the national department of transport as a pilot project. It was introduced in Limpopo last year.
“It is for the first time that these schools benefit from such a beautiful project. The bicycles will make a huge difference in the four schools and they will help improve classroom performance,” said Aganang municipal mayor Mmanoko Masehela.
Capricorn District Mayor Makgabo Mapoulo said the bicycles would help provide easy access to education for pupils in rural areas.
“Not only do they do that, they will also help them in terms of improving their health as they peddle to school. We also encourage the children to take good care of the bicycles so that others can use them once they have matriculated,” said Mapoulo.
He said the district municipality would take the initiative to other municipalities within the district, but also urged business owners to assist.
“Government resources are not necessarily unlimited, and on that note we invite the business fraternity to join hands with us in order to improve our people’s lives,” said Mapoulo. – Siphiwe Nyathi, BuaNews