Holy Cross fire devastation: School asks public to open hearts and wallets

Cape Town's Holy Cross Primary School in Zonnebloem is hoping that people will open their hearts and their wallets to help replace the precious library books, laboratory and school bags that went up in flames on Thursday.

"I'm holding up, but I'm not good," said principal Nomthandazo Zweni on Friday.

The buildings housing Grades R, 4 and 7 and a brand new laboratory were destroyed, as well as the precious books donated by The Bookery for the official opening of the library in two weeks.

The desks, chairs and equipment in the affected classrooms were also lost, as were four teachers' laptops.

And, in the rush to evacuate everybody to safety, the tiny blue and navy backpacks, containing the children's stationery, books and personal items, were also lost. 

Zweni said that the surrounding community, former pupils, and businesses such as Shoprite and Pick n Pay had helped on Friday morning to provide the meals that the children - many from impoverished backgrounds - relied on every day.

"People have been amazing with food, so we are fine with that for now," said Zweni.

But they are hoping somebody can assist with replacing desks, chairs, backpacks and stationery for the 105 pupils whose classrooms were destroyed. They also need mats for the little ones to sit on when they sing.

Only half of the children arrived for school on Friday, and were playing "as normal". Counselling had also been arranged. 

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

The Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane was expected to visit the school later on Friday.