By Tilo ngwana Rashaka
When I was a primary school learner, I enjoyed every minute at school. Not because it was always nice, but I felt welcomed, I felt at home.
Of course my teachers would use corporal punishment to reprimand us but that bothered me less because it was not only practiced on me, but to the rest of the class.
In 2005 when I started my grade 8, I knew things would never be the same again. What made things worse was, I want to believe, the setting. I attended my high school in a different section of my community.
As a result, I was exposed to people I never met before. Sometimes I would wonder if I made the right choice by going to that school or not. But today, I want to believe I went to that school because God had a purpose for me there.
No one forced me to attend that school. It was my independent decision. I told my father I wanted to further my secondary learning there and the following day he got me the application forms. Before I knew it, I was in.
In January that year, my father gave my sister R1000 to buy me a school uniform. He invested a lot of money on me. R1000 had value at that time. Can you blame him? I’m his last born and he knew I was intellectually brilliant, *Ooo, did I say that?*
Anyway, I had everything I needed; from a Bantex stationery case to 2 dickies pants. I was so excited that I’ll be starting a new school soon and I could not wait to show my class mates how brilliant I was. I knew I was going to be the top student and I accomplished the mission very well.
But little did I envisage that my excitement will be short lived. Even though my first encounter with the bullies was in grade 8, it was mild, nothing hectic. Yes, I had those moments when I wanted to cry but I managed.
Come 2007 in grade 10, things moved from no-so-good to excessively hectic. At one point, I felt like I was in prison. Because I was so smart and knew almost every answer for all the subjects but mathematical literally, I still couldn’t raise up my hand.
I always wanted to keep a low profile, thinking the bullies will let go of me. As I type this article. The pains that I had to endure back then come back to haunt me. Is fine, let the tears roll. Even though they will leave tracks and the memories will find their way back, I cannot completely close that chapter. Is part of me, I have to embrace it.
It was hectic, believe me. What was worse was that those guys were not beasts. They were not monsters because they’ll laugh and joke with everyone but me. They had their days when they’ll laugh with me and I would feel comfortable, thinking that I’m starting to get into their right books. But no, it was not genuine. Is because they wanted something out of me, and once they got what they wanted, all was back to dog-cat hide and seek.
At one point I prayed that they fail grade 10 but God had other plans. To my dire surprise and misery, they passed; we all proceeded to grade 11. Yah, that’s when I realised that what I encountered in grade 10 was nothing. 2008 was on another extreme level.
But still, I couldn’t tell anyone, not my family or teachers. I kept quiet and prayed that God solve them his way. Deep down in the bottom of heart I wanted to deal with them my own way. I knew I was strong and there was nothing that could break my spirit.
But nothing and I mean nothing distracted me from performing to my utmost best. I was always the best in class. That was one gift they couldn’t take away from me. They may have shamed me, ridiculed me in front of people, silenced me one way or another but they couldn’t take my precious brain out of my big head.
Hooray, finally, a sigh of relief, I passed and they all failed. I made it to grade 12, expectedly, and it was great. It was such a small class. We were 21. For some reasons we got along and I started to become myself.
I would crack jokes, preach to them, teach them and by teach them I mean teach. Wow! From that awkward experience to a jubilant atmosphere, everything was nice. Not once in grade 12 have I dreamed of not wanting to go to school even if I was not feeling well.
We were a one small family. We got along nicely, very well. I miss all of them. Who would forget Nonkie Mamorobela? So sly and funny, she’s my companion. Believe me, you’ll love her when you meet her. She knows how to make people smile.
And there was Mogautsana, that’s the nickname I gave to her in grade 10. She was our eyes and ears. She knew everything that was happening in the community. You wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of her because she will tell you your business. She knew all our businesses, how, I don’t know. She was not bluffing, everything she said was correct and factual. For gossip in abundance, she was our reference point.
She was always fighting with Marua and Sheridans. Ha ha ha ha ha, I still miss those moments. But it was nothing hectic. It was one of those family kids fights. But at the end of the day, we’ll get back together and share jokes like a one big family.
If given a chance to back to high school, I would want to repeat grade 12, seriously, but grade 10 and 11, NEVER!
I seldom get angry but when pushed too far, I can pull a prima donna stunt. Forgiveness is something I don’t give away easily.