Mabins: Mametja Primary school, a community monument on the verge of extinction
Mametja primary school is a monument worth to be preserved and celebrated. Terraced in the Drakensberg Mountain range in the vicinity of Mabins-ga-Mametja, this first light of the community continues to be faced with extinction. This marvel of traditional architecture forms a curve with the ochre laden Seboku hilltop and the water bubbling Lwale stone. The old building is fast disintegrating and therefore calls for the community to come to its rescue in order to return it to its past glory.
The building as it stands now is swarmed by growth of trees which obscure its majestic view. Other than its dilapidating state, the building poses a severe security risk as snakes and other dangerous animals can easily take habitat in it. People use a path that cuts through the two blocks. This old building is less than fifty meters from the new blocks of classrooms which makes it possible for learners and teachers to be in constant danger
Established on or about 1932-6, this school produced thousands of professionals. As one of the first schools in the Maruleng municipal jurisdiction, it carried a responsibility of having to cater for the educational needs of several villages. Over the years it stood as a centre of hope and a fountain of human development and many people benefited from this source of knowledge. In time, new classrooms were added but the fact is that the old building needs renovation in order to keep the memory of this community monument alive.
It is therefore relevant that the community should preserve this monument by a way of renovating it and applying from government to declare it a national monument. What should happen is that a process should be undertaken and mobilized in order to get architectures to redo its original plan so that renovation can be done by rebuilding it using the same material and form. The renovated building in a form of a national monument can serve as a multi-purpose centre that can provide services to the community in various fields such as youth development especially information technology.
This school has produced many professionals who should play a pivotal role in the preservation of this historical site. It will indeed be a great contribution for members of this fortunate community to participate in this important project. The preservation of this community property will be the reconstruction of a great legacy, a heritage that will bear testimony to the enduring tenets of Ubuntu. Amongst members of the community, we still have people who witnessed in their young age the building of this school, attended it and later came to teach and then served as principals. The list of these great community builders includes people such as Mr. Mametja Alfred and Mr. Mmola Samson.
The presence of these elders will serve the reconstruction project very well as they would be able to narrate the story from firsthand experience. It will also enable the community to celebrate them in life in recognition of their loyal service to the community. It will be very sad if the community allows this architectural splendor to disintegrate into oblivion.
It is now over eighty (80) years since the school was established and the first original block is a shining example of a concerted community effort. The downside of it is that the community seems to be letting it disappear which will render it insignificant as if it never existed. Oral evidence points to the essence of “letsema”, the centuries old practice of Africans in the building and sustenance of communities. The construction of this flagship heritage site was an initiative of the community starting from scratch with a meagre financial budget and the determination of the people to create an enduring legacy through the establishment of a fountain of knowledge. The upside of it is that this community property deserve to be preserved for development and posterity.
It would be rekindling for the community to rally around a project of this magnitude which has a capacity to produce positive results for local development! This therefore constitutes a clarion call to all those that benefited from it to play a major role in this reconstruction project. It will indeed be a good gesture for all former learners who have now qualified in various disciplines to play a pivotal role in the preservation of their alma mater. This will prepare the present learners at an early stage of their lives to absorb the importance of community service. It is very encouraging though that there are plans afoot to mobilize the community for the commencement of a programme that seeks to embark on this groundbreaking work.
During the heydays of the introduction of education and when excellence was still regarded as a community property, the establishment of this school brought the requisite jubilation to the people of this community. The first learners of this school who are now in the prime of their lives still reminisce with pride about the many milestones that they recorded especially in relation to the quality of learning and teaching, music and athletics. The many teachers and principals that taught and led the school are still fondly remembered by the community. This is not enough given the fact that there is no proper record keeping and therefore the whole lot of institutional memory will be lost. It is therefore prudent that in the effort to reconstruct the institutional memory of this school, a proper research should be undertaken to trace and retrieve both oral and written evidence including the many trophies that were won.
The beauty of an undertaking of this scale would crystallize once everyone is involved and the reconstruction process unfolds. It would indeed be a very important phase in the revitalization of community development through the preservation of sites like this school. It is indisputable that history shall always remain a pillar of every community and nations. It is therefore relevant that this project receives the necessary support so that this community property can be returned to its past glory. This will be for the benefit of the community as a whole.
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