Dear friends and other interesting creatures,
If my nursery school report is anything to go by, not much has changed.
I didn’t like playing outside. I liked reading, story time, music time and acting and dress up. I didn’t like getting dirty and my mom says I use to get out the car and just go to school. No wave, no looking back. At that point at least I could still count, knew my alphabet apparently quite early and I could name the colours and farm animals.
I was in the Lion class, which is not a farm animal. As you know, here in Africa we let all animals walk around freely and enjoy our backyards as they like. Terrible for traffic and the odd child being eaten.
Primary school, I remember going to enroll with Ouma Chrissie, but on the day school started, I sommer went alone. No shoes. I am an Afrikaanse meisie, we don’t do shoes. I still don’t like shoes. (Love pedicures btw)
In grade one or two I remember a girl’s parents asked that their child not sit next to me as my parents were divorced. Yes, I am sure their divorce could rub off on your child. The rest of that year I sat alone. I remember learning to count with burnt cigarettes which we made huts with later.
I went to school a year early so I was always the youngest. I was desperate to play netball but you could only play in standard one and I was still a year too young. Being very short didn’t help! Eventually I was allowed to play but not outside of our school. I was too young. I settled in with a group a year behind me at school in the end and I loved it very much.
I did just dandy at school and I did modern and tap dancing in the afternoons. I didn’t like ballet. Looked very pretencious to me. I did piano lessons, drama lessons, I played every sport available at school and I was on my bike constantly. I wrote books and drew the pictures to accompany my stories. Unless a miracle happened, those pictures must have been terrible. Good times.
I had the same boyfriend from grade two to standard four. Hey, not much of a one night stand kinda girl. He did turn out to be captain of the rugby team so I did ok.
End of standard four everything changed. My father died and I was to go live with my Mammie and my sister, Rentia in the city. My boyfriend dumped me.
We lived in Hillbrow towards the end of it being trendy. Some parts were downright scary. For the first time in my life I had to catch a bus… with Rentia…. to school. I was petrified off my surroundings and wondered if my Mom dies how am I going to get hold of my Ouma?
My final year of Primary School was strange. The school was very poor so they would feed us porridge in the morning before school and give us a sandwich at lunch. Meals on wheels would arrive. Seriously. If you said no thank you, they thought you were just being shy! We use to get vegetables on Fridays to take home and occasionally Albany would give everyone a bread!
The teachers were horrid and liked to beat the crap out of you. If you got 11/20, they would snack you with a ruler 9 times and so on. I wonder if it was an Afrikaans thing.
There was one teacher who wanted to save the world (reminds me of @SirNoid in teacher mode) who on weekends would take us out of town to see a cave or a dam or braai at his mom’s house where we could swim…. and then drive everyone back to school. Bless his heart.
The school had no extra murals but we played baseball on the red sand at break. Huge culture shock for me as I use to be incredibly driven physically with sport and dancing. Red sand is bloody hard to get out of white socks.
Oh I won Miss….. Beauty pageant that year. I got fake flowers for a crown and I think some chocolate. My Mammie and sister was very proud.
I decided to go to art school more because nobody else from this school would be going there. First day of High School my mom walked me in and I cried like a colicky baby.
Loved my time there. Sport resumed, plenty of madness. Lots of time for acting and creating chaos. The teacher made me class captain in an attempt to get me to behave! Haha! I gave my badge in the same day. No way am I reporting on other kids. Sorrrrryyyy!
I met my friend Vicky there when I was 12. Until today I would kill the bull for her and she has slayed a few dragons for me. Home wasn’t great (to say I hated my then stepfather – now dead – is an understatement) but I loved school. Hated holidays lol.
Brief stint at another school when the English and Afrikaans Art schools joined up…. and I decided I wanted to matriculate in English. Besides, I am not a conformist. I did not do well with how long your dress has to be and your hair may not touch your collar blah blah.
After visiting various places of education my Mammie and I settled on a private college where you went to school daily, in whatever outfit you liked. It was just like regular school, minus the crap, plus lipstick. Giving me freedom, I excelled academically. I loved studying. I loved trying to find my feet between Afrikaans and English in all the different subjects. History remains my favourite. Just not ‘Die Groot Trek’. It is also here where my political believes were formed on the pavements outside and my friends of many colours. I also learned that all black men are not terrorists as I was previously taught at school.
We really are not a one size fit all education system, we never were.
In the end it was so rewarding for me to have made this weird choice. I matriculated with two distinctions and university entrance with English as my first language and a hatred for rassism. Smarty pants.
I was accepted at WITS University when idiotic me decided I shall marry instead so I never have to see my stepfather again.
…. and that is where the crap really started.
I wish you enough,
Posted from the second cloud on your left.