It is seldom that people neither talk nor write about their teachers or ex-teachers I never thought I would execute this but after realizing a role they played in our lives and in building strong humanities. It surprises me still that their profession in considered amongst those underrated. After leaving school we simply overlook them. There is a majority of good teachers and the rest are terrible. Good teachers are those who understand learners’ situations and those who lead my examples and never consider silly blunders. I am saying this because children from poor backgrounds deserve fine treatment and respect form teachers so they could make education a priority. Most of us took example from such teachers also because we spent time with them that piloted us in pursuing good things they did. They became our role models. Recently schools were embraced by a dark cloud of misdemeanor and violence, we heard stories from around the country about teachers who could not adhere to the rules and value their dignity, sleeping around with underage school girls and those who went boozing with school boys. It is not only about their self respect but also about disgracing the entire school and the community. Teaching is a respectful occupation and those concerned should consider that. I also understand that it could be a frustrating profession. This has been apparent in previous times, teachers could not stand the ill-treatment by learner. They could not perceive the point of spending time with a bunch of disrespectful pupils who does not appreciate the efforts their teacher put to lift them to another level. So as teachers there is a majority of good students who knows and comprehend the objectives of education. Such learners turn to bring their teacher to life and give them confidence to positively carry on loving the profession. There are pessimistic students, they just attend to disrupt lessons and cause disturbance to other student, and good learners tend to loose focus due to disruptive once. Ask me, for five years I sat in those school desks and witness the same. Disruptive scenes were observed at some stages in Mkhweyantaba High in Orinoco. Criminalized Students attending classes heavily armed and under the influence of dagga. I could not understand the reason these corrupt minded learners fell proud about their illicit actions. Obviously to them it was just massive fun. And later I learned with revulsion the ethnic violence that erupted in the same school. After few conversations with some student I found out their poor level of understanding when it comes to democracy let alone the basics about the constitution of this country. It clearly poses risks for teachers in schools like these and at the end of the day they are expected to persist with their duties.
Years after leaving my high school I still remember my ex-teachers mostly because I come across some of them by chance and whenever we converse it brings back the good and bad memories, I attended high school just after the don of democracy and by this time corporal punishment was still carried out in some schools including Sekhukhusa. Hatred amongst teachers and student occurred on the grounds Corporal punishment. I hated it so much and ended up hating teachers who carried it out, simply because some of them were doing it severely to punish not making learners be aware of the wrongs they did (I had mixed feelings about Mr Murudu, my Std 5 Mathematics teacher who ironically influenced me to the real history one day during a geometry lesson when he bragged about his awareness of Mahondas Kharamchant Mahatma Gandhi’s Satiyagraha or passive resistance and calling the names Enoch Sontonga and Dr James Moroka back in Saile primary school, his tales were real, alive and inspiring than the mind-numbing history we were taught. It was ill-timed for me because I could not access it in full, it hit me later coming across this names while learning more and it was here that I reminisced his him. Mr Murudu at times messed up his reputation and lost out of our favor because of his punishment methods. He hated his remarks after completing his self-amusing excise of inflicting pain to our palms, he would say “Mmamohla ke e ps^hinne ka lena” implying today I enjoyed punishing you) honestly I had grudges against some teachers, it is now that I realize they were useless and stupid though it was of a point. Learners have a way of retaliating, teachers were still given names. I still remember derogative names learners gave to their teachers, bo-Gwabula (the demolisher) because the man used to hit hard with a fist. bo-Stampie, she excelled in Afrikaans, she taught it as if she was teaching Sepulana. I reckon they don’t know these names because learners never call them so.
I was fortunate because at Sekhukhusa secondary school I met some inspirational teachers whom I still can reflect back. On behalf of other ex-student I would like extend my sincere appreciation to our ex-teachers for understanding some learners’ economic disadvantages, identifying their desired destinations and even went as far as helping them attain their goals in life. Today I rate Sekhukhusa as one of the best schools in Bushbuckridge. Without any doubt I enjoyed my schooling in this institution.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize some of my ex-teachers. Mr Eddie Segodi. Though I was not good in Mathematics he tried by all means to lift me up and installed in me a sense of understanding. There are countable things in life I learned from him and stories about his football playing days. I recently met him one day kua Toronto, while I was sitting mola lapeng enjoy some few drinks. We had a chat and it was so great. I am still living by his advises. Same day I met my long lost pal Esheng Dibakoane wa ga Motibidi and we discussed a lot about the whereabouts of my other pals from Ga-Motibidi, bo-Isaac Mokoena, Kanego Mokoena, Promise Mhlongo
An intellect Mr Sgudla, he is a great man. I recently met him in Johannesburg while he was attending some classes, it was good. There are lots of advises he rendered me and still my mentor. Mr Boateng, he preaches determination and all he wants out of his learners is success. Mrs Edith Lekhuleni-Mabilane, Mr Marvin Mamba, Mr Mudau, the Great Man Himself Mr Letsoalo and others. Sekhukhusa is what it is today because of your efforts and all people who are successfully sitting comfortable in different professions achieved because of your efforts. Carry on the great job.
I miss my high school days, pals and may ex-classmates, dimpints^i ts^aka ts^a Ga-Relane: bo Hardwell Mmola, the late Given Mokgalaka, Collen Mathibela, Meltus Makhubedu, Ruben Makhubela, Thapelo Malatjie, Monica Kgoedi, Epraim Subuye wa Bush kua Matenteng, David Letsoalo le Jacke Mashaba ba Shatale, Raymond Chiloane wa Violet Bank, Gibson Mokoena wa ga Mpisane eeeyi! The list is endless. These are some of my crazy ex-classmates back at Sekhukhusa. I hope they still remember me wherever they are.
Writer: Lebogang Mokgalaka, Mos^umanyana wa Mapulaneng lehono o fukuza byalo ka Education Guide Kua Constitution Hill Heritage Site, Jozi.