By Mathews Nthinya
As a gesture of goodwill, Avril Turpin, the great-granddaughter of the late Reverend William Homan Turpin, Fikizolo Primary School founder, recently donated gutters to the school. This benevolent act comes after years of the school grappling with old, corroded gutters that had long lost their functionality due to rust and wear.
Turpin firmly believes that her investment in the school’s gutters is wise, ensuring their longevity for years to come. She thinks this strategic move has secured a reliable running water supply for Fikizolo School for decades to come.
“Our gutters were in very poor condition,” says principal Zoleka Kate. She added by saying, “As we know that [Makhanda] is an area where water is a scarce resource, we were [unable to]get water from the rain through the gutters.”
Kate adds that because of the poor state of the gutters, the school could not get more tanks for a section of the school with the learner toilets.
Grateful for the donation, Kate emphasised that the school can now look to getting more donations for water tanks. Kate estimates that the school needs approximately eight tanks to meet the school’s water needs.
Speaking to Grocott’s Mail about the obstacles she faced during the gutter donation process, Turpin said, “I simply had to look into my heart and reach into my pockets to make this possible.” Remarkably, she managed the entire donation independently, without external assistance.
Reflecting on selecting and purchasing the gutters, Avril confessed that there were moments when she couldn’t believe she was seeing it through. Nevertheless, she was committed to honouring her word and fulfilling her promise to the school.
Turpin’s association with Fikizolo School extends beyond this recent act of generosity. Last year, she made a notable contribution by providing clothing for underprivileged learners, cementing her commitment to the school’s welfare.
Turpin expressed her unwavering dedication to further enhancing the school’s conditions through her next ambitious initiative: donating water tanks.
She intends to engage with more members of her family to get involved in the school. Turpin strongly believes that by bolstering the school, she is profoundly impacting the entire community, recognising that today’s children represent the future.
Turpin’s empathy for the challenges faced by Fikizolo’s learners stems from her own modest upbringing. Having endured financial hardship, she empathises with these learners’ daily struggles. She says she had to discontinue her education in grade 10 during the apartheid era. Driven by her past experiences, she is resolute in creating a safe and nurturing environment for the children at Fikizolo, ensuring they are spared the hardships she endured. “Deprivation doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your dreams,” she says.
Kate expressed hope that Turpin’s remarkable act of kindness would inspire, encouraging others to continue supporting Fikizolo Primary School through their contributions and assistance.