By Chris Gilili
In July, the Zamani Day Care Centre in Duncan Village, East London, burnt down for the fifth time.
“We lost most of the children’s school work, stationery and other essentials. But our principal keeps us going and motivated,” says Isabelle Quill, who has been a teacher at Zamani since 2010.
The centre is still open. Three of the 12 classrooms survived the fire; one class has been rebuilt, thanks to donations. Nine classrooms are currently functioning.
“I am someone who focuses on how I will get out of a situation rather than complain. I love children and teaching them,” says the principal Ncumisa Yoyo, who established the centre in 1995 in a two-room shack.
In 2003, a fire started from a flame stove. “The parents were cooking for a function that day. The flame stove burst and engulfed the whole place with fire. Before we knew it, all the shack structure was demolished … I managed to pick up the pieces and rebuilt the centre with donations from various people. With major help from students studying at the Brigham Young University (BYU) in the United States,” says Yoyo.