Both pupils and and teachers in rural Limpopo say they are preparing for another year of so-called tree schools, pit toilets, overcrowding in classrooms without roofs and even snake bites, reports Eyewitness News.
The Limpopo province has the highest percentage blacks of all South African provinces, with whites making up less than 1% of the population.
After two years of textbook delays in the troubled province, pupils say they are grateful to have been given their learning material on the first day.
But they admit this is cold comfort without a roof over their heads.
On Wednesday, hundreds of boys queued outside a small concrete barrier housing two tiny holes in the ground, hoping to relieve themselves before their break ended
It was at one of these makeshift toilets at Tsogang Primary School that a young boy was bitten by a venomous snake late last year.
The boy’s teacher says he was lucky to survive, but will no longer go near the pit toilets.
During a similar queuing procession at the Motsipa Secondary School in Bolobedu, a grade 9 pupil told Eyewitness News he often wishes he was born in another province.
“I feel like I can cry…Eish Limpopo”.
The child’s visibly concerned maths teacher later looked up at the cloudy sky and said he was worried about having to cancel lessons, should the rain come down.
“We have no roof and no chance.”
Just a few metres away, his colleague placed a few bent chairs under a tree, where Grade 8s would be given their English lesson.