In the year 2001, the Potgietersrus Muslim School was founded by Dr. Suliman Tayob, Mr. Ahmed Cachalia, Mr. Ashraf Bhyat, and the late Mr. Aboo Bakr Tayob, all business men and members in the Muslim community of our town. They saw the need for a school in the community which could not just provide ahigh standard of education but also be an extension of their beliefs and culture.
The school started under the leadership of Mr. Yunus Hassen, the Principal and six teachers. Because the school only housed 54 learners, there was no need for a secretary or more than one cleaner. Mrs. Elsa Nel, EliseFourie, Frieda Maritz,Christina Boshoff, Hanne/ie Heburn, Sumaya Ismael, Debbie Van Rensburg, Julie Bhyat and Miss. Milanda were the teachers involved at the starting and being part of the development of the school. Many had since resigned or relocated. Mr. Henk Van Rensburg took over the reigns of the school in 2003 from Mr. Hassan as Principal.
The premises used for the school, was the Muslim Madressa classes at the Akasia Mosque(Musjid). In the mornings, it was used for academic purposes and in the afternoon the Madressa classes for Muslim children continued. There were not enough classrooms for all the grades and the staffroom was converted into a classroom for the grade 7 learners. It was also functional as a library for the school. There were no other offices except a very small storeroom which serves as the Principal’s office. No sport facilities were available close by and we had to use the town’s old cricket field near the golf club and Waterberg High School’s athletic track when there was an athletics event. Extra murals and sports training took place on the abandoned tennis court across the road. Miss. Engelbrecht(Lombard) introduced Hip-Hop dancing to the learners and it was quite popular.
No formal uniform was established, only grey pants/skirts/jerseys and a plain white shirt. Muslim children could wear their traditional kurta, if they preferred it. The school had an emblem and the school’s motto was “Seek knowledge”
In 2005 Mrs. Labuschagne enrolled the Grade 4-7 learners for the first time in the AMESA Math Olympiad and for the next four years, they were victorious as the winners in the local and WaterbergDistrict, earning them the trophy for three years consecutive winners. During 2006 the school also won the trophy for the best school in the Limpopo Province with its outstanding results during the Provincial Math Olympiad.
The school also joined the Eco-Schools Project, with Mrs. July Bhyat as the co-ordinator in an ongoing effort to make a difference in the environment and educating learners on their place in the cycle of preserving our planet and our future.
A Grade R class was introduced and Apa Soreya was in charge of the pre-school learners. Their classroom was a Wendy house separated from all the other classrooms. By this time, the learner number has increased to 92 and space was becoming a problem.
In 2006 Dr. Suliman Tayob finally received the approval from the local Municipality to start with the building of the new school. During 2007 the new Mokopane English Primary School premises was occupied. The building on 19 Kiepersol Street in Akasia consist of 11 classrooms, library, tuck-shop, offices, fully equipped computer room a staff room and a hall. With the help of the Anglo American Mine, the playground was covered with instant lawn and a courtyard for assembly as well as a courtyard for basketball were paved.
The school was expanding fast and by now there were 125 learners, a secretary, Glory Monama, and three members on the ground staff. Mr. Van Rensburg was still leading the team of 8 teachers. During this time, by means of a competition amongst the learners from all grades, a new emblem and motto replaced the old. Shamima Aphiri, a Grade 5 learner from the school, designed the winning emblem and motto for the new Mokopane English Primary School. The new motto ” One nation, one education” replaced the old motto “Seek knowledge”
In August 2007, the school received it’s green flag from Eco -Schools and this was also the year for the first group of children to go on an excursion to the Lowveld. From Bombix silkworm farm and Mohlohololo Rehabilitation Centre for wild animals near Hoedspruit, to Sable coffee farm and Cultural village. Spending the nights at the Mac Mac waterfall resort, swimming in Lydenburg was most interesting
A blue golf T-shirt with MEPS printed on the back and the school’s name on the front, became part of the uniform of the school. It was worn on special occasions like sport, Friday school uniform and during the annual CANSA walk, in which the school took part for the first time during October 2007.
With donations from within the Mokopane community, Mr. Van Rensburg bought and planted the first twenty trees on the premises. The grass was ready for the first soccer and athletic practices and the number of learners increased and the school became one of the top English Primary Schools in Mokopane.
The Grade 4-7 learners went on their second excursion in 2008. This time staying over in the forest around Kaapsehoop in an old South African Railway train coach. Visiting caves, Kruger National Park, waterfalls and swimming in natural pools and slipping down natural ” super tubes” . The horse riding was very popular.
At the beginning of 2008, Mr. Van Rensburg retired as Principal and the school was managed by Mrs. Elsa NeI and Mrs. Julie Bhyat, til Mr. Lubbe, appointed by the Directors of the Board, took over during the second quarter in 2008 as the new Principal.local pools and waterfalls, visiting places of interest and going for long walks in the forests. The excursion ended on a high note with a visit to the Sudwala caves and dinosaur park.