Chapter 3: Basic Education! The Foundation!

Chapter 3: Basic Education! The Foundation!

In my Sepedi language, there is a saying: “Tloga tloga e tloga kgale modishi wa kgomo o tswa le yona shakeng!” It is an idiomatic expression that means that if you are to be successful in life you must have a good start. This is so profound. Hence the choice of the title of this chapter, Basic Education! The Foundation! That is the perspective that I bring with me into mentorship, coaching and human capital development interventions with my clients. It is informed by the kind of basic education I was exposed to during my basic education level at Moripane Primary School, Malekutu High School, Legaletlwa High School, and Boaparankwe College in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. There are a lot of things that happen to us during the early years of our education journey. We should be aware of the impact of such developments and connect them with our way of being as grown-ups. Similarly, we must be aware of what went wrong in those earlier years. Both the positive and negative events in our upbringing constitute our perspective and way of being in our later years. Being in touch with them, acknowledging them, embracing them, being non-judgemental about them, forgiving those who brought them to us including our own parents and teachers, and taking ownership of who we have become is progressive indeed. It will unblock and enable you to become helpful to others either as a coach, teacher, mentor, facilitator, manager, leader, counsellor, trainer, etc.

The real challenge is to acknowledge and embrace our negative perspectives. We tend to default into denial, becoming self-critical, and blaming those who looked after us in the early years of our lives. The first step in undoing what went wrong with us is the acknowledgement of the life experiences that we were put through. The second step would be to do something about it. It is important to acknowledge that as mentors and coaches we bring certain perspectives into our mentoring and coaching relationships with our clients. That is why the mentors and coaches must first work on themselves before they work with their mentees and coachees. The mentees and coachees also have their own perspectives they bring into the mentoring and coaching relationships with their mentors and coaches. They must be assisted to interrogate their own perspectives.

Great nations are built on progressive basic education. My country, South Africa, knows better than any other country. The apartheid government used education as a political weapon against the blacks. Most of us had to settle for Bantu Education, which was a government education policy specifically for the black population. It was clearly intended at denying the blacks any chance of developing greatness in the country. It was clearly understood by the regime that basic education is the foundation for any person to achieve greatness. I am writing from experience having been educated under the Bantu Education policy in the then Lebowa Homeland Government, one of the Bantustans of the then Apartheid South Africa. I have worked very hard to discard the negatives of the system and kept what I believe to be good for my personal and professional development journey.

In this chapter, Basic Education! The Foundation! I am extracting the best we were given under such a system regardless of its brutality. I am sharing with you my views on the role that basic education played in my education journey. This cannot be taken lightly as it could be costly for the nation. Since the new democratic South Africa came into being we have been grabbling with the education transformation. It is still a work in progress. The latest development, integrating Early Childhood Development into our Basic Education is one of the best moves. The foundation must be laid down right at the beginning of the child’s education journey. The moment a child is born the journey starts. Early Childhood Development ought to be the branch of our Basic Education that must be prioritised by our country. I, like many black South Africans of my age, missed Early Childhood Development. We know the impact of this on our education development and growth.

Growing up in the small rural village of Moripane, I observed that the public infrastructure of our rural basic education schools was never appropriate to deliver on such critical future objectives. In fact, the villages mobilised their own resources and built community schools. We did not see anything wrong with that. We did not even know that it was only the black population that had to build their own schools. The white population of South Africa never had to go through the trouble of building their own schools. In hindsight, I think this made us very strong, resilient, and self-sufficient, even though it was unjustified. We all proudly contributed to the project of building our own schools. A directive would be issued by our leaders to contribute money to the school building fund. This will happen without any complaint. We will be proud of our achievement. The school would be looked after by all of us. That is how we catered for our education needs under apartheid South Africa. We will even go as far as raising money to pay the salaries of the private teachers whenever the government would not provide.

Basic Education is an emotive service, especially in South Africa. The introduction of Bantu Education by the Apartheid Government has a lot to do with the development gaps among the black South Africans. As a result, some of the interventions to address our Basic Education tend to be irrational and emotional in approach. We cannot afford to behave in this manner if we want to rectify the mistakes of the past. It is at the Basic Education level that the general approach to the education of the children should be encouraged. This means that we should go beyond classroom-based interventions and bring external and physical activities into the play. It is not the right level at which we should worry ourselves with specialisation or choices. It is too soon for the children. They are at this level active, energetic, exploratory, and not much concerned with the type of careers they might be following. They must be given general knowledge, life education, and a broad perspective about their world.

The science and art of learning should be the concern very early in the educational development of the children, i.e. at the Basic Education level. Our kind of education during my time did not concern itself with teaching the pupils how to learn. This is something I lament. I was denied one of the skills that every child must be given very early in the education journey.

The idea of making education compulsory for every child came too late in our country. There is a reason why basic education must be mandatory and free, supported by a free school feeding scheme. It is about the future of the country. The children are the future and while they are in their early stages of development and growth they must be supported by the state. Their cognitive development and ability depend on what we do to them during this early stage of their development. Most of the nation’s investment should go to basic education if we are to develop a bright future from the human capital point of view.

I am only waking up to the fact that I am what I was taken through during my early years of development, mostly at the primary school level. I am fortunate that irrespective of the apartheid system of education, we had a communal approach to our lives. Our well-being was the responsibility of the entire village. Nobody was left alone to fend for themselves. In my view, children are born of families, but they are the responsibility of the nation, community, and villagers. The villagers are a collection of people with a common interest, namely, co-existing and behaving as responsible citizens of the country. When the village or community can approach life in that manner, nations will achieve success. At this stage of their development children are fully dependent on their parents, guardians, villagers, communities, and authorities. They are helpless. A lot of good or bad can be brought onto them and determine the future that may be or not ideal. As adults, we must be conscious of this reality and take ownership of our actions meant for the children’s development.

I was fortunate to have grown up under responsible elders, grandparents, guardians, and villagers in the small rural village of Moripane in the Sekhukhune District of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Of course, like all the children, I was always at the mercy of my community. My assessment is that most of the elders were just following our culture and traditions in bringing us up. It was nothing special for them. Today, that is no longer the case. The risk of being left under irresponsible guardians and the community is very high. It is a must that governments come up with strategies to address this vulnerability that is facing children during the early years of their education. We reap what we sow. I am not convinced that we are sowing very well these days.

It is during the basic education years that the foundation in terms of the identities of the children is laid. The children must immerse themselves in their own cultures but at the same time, they must be made to understand and respect those of others. In South Africa, historically, education has always been a political ball that is played around. This is especially so at the basic education level. The youth of the country during their basic education level had to fight the struggle against the imposition of Afrikaans language as the medium of education in 1976. This should leave you wondering what type of development gaps the country, even today, is having to endure. It may not be obvious, but we are certainly having to play catch-up. Of course, they did not have a choice then. Now that we have achieved democracy, we cannot continue burdening the youth with the responsibility of national transformation imperatives. We, the adults, must step up our game and shoulder those responsibilities. That is the objective of this chapter of the book.

Basic education has a direct impact on the subcultures and main culture of the country. That is why the parents, guardians, and authorities have a huge responsibility in deciding on the kind of basic education they are exposing their children to. This includes the overall policy on basic education. During my time at the basic education level, we had no choice but to study under the Bantu Education system of the then apartheid South Africa. The main objective of Bantu Education policy was to subject black people to inferior education so that they could never ever reach the level of economic emancipation. Of course, black people became aware of this hidden agenda and rejected Bantu Education. But we could still have some pockets of excellent education for our people. This was possible because at the basic education level there are many other learning interventions other than classroom teaching.

It is during the basic education level that we should be teaching the children the basics of how to learn. Such skill becomes handy in future education and development programmes. I can confess that I did not have the opportunity to be taught intentionally how to learn. If I knew what I know now I would have achieved more than I did at the various stages of my educational and development journey. At this stage of human capital development, the active engagement of parents, guardians, and mentors cannot be underestimated. We must be intentional, knowing very well that it is the stage if missed we cannot recover. It would require a strong will from the learners to rectify and recover what was missed. I had to do that later in my years. It was not easy. I could have totally gone to waste professionally. Fortunately, I worked hard, unlearned some wrong practices, and learned new learning styles. For example, I now know that my learning style is auditory. I use this knowledge to my benefit, and it is making a huge difference in my studies.

What about the development of parents and guardians so that they are effective in the support of their children during the basic education level? We make the wrong assumption that they know and are capable to fulfil this important role. When putting the parents and guardians through development we are like sharpening the saw. It must be considered in the transformation of our basic education. Their roles and clarification of such roles should be built into our basic education policy and programme.

Extra-mural activities at the basic education level are often viewed as by the way interventions. That is exactly where we often go wrong. There are reasons why they are encouraged in most progressive nations. The children are still growing at the basic education level. Their participation in extra-mural activities is determined and supported by their parents, guardians, educators, and authorities. In most of our rural villages and townships, there are no sufficient and appropriate facilities and infrastructure to serve as an alternative to school-based ones. Children’s participation in such activities is necessary and critical for their motor skills and brain development, cognitive ability, and physical growth.

During my years at the primary school level, our teachers had factored into our school programme what was called playtime. It was a daily period reserved for us to be out on the sports field and some in the schoolyard. We were made to play. Sometimes the teachers would not even be involved during the playtime period. They would leave us alone and observe how creative we became. This included the displaying of organising and leadership skills. However, this practice was not presented to the parents and us as something important for motor skills and cognitive development. So, the rationale for it was left unexplained. So, we were not empowered with the knowledge of why it was necessary. Nevertheless, many of us benefited from it. Many of us became successful athletes and learners in later years. I believe it was because of the many earlier sports interventions administered during our daily playtime.

Primary school education tends to be all-encompassing, beyond the school subjects, and classroom-based interventions. The focus is and should be on the overall development of the child. We should always avoid a narrow and restrictive approach to it, especially regarding physical activities. The main ain must be participation by all. The choice of school activities must at first be broad. There should be a variety of activities available to the children. They easily get bored. In my case, our primary school education included handwork, housecraft, gardening, artwork, cleaning activities, planting flowers, athletics, sports, choral music, and poetry. These activities contributed immensely to our confidence building. Since ours was a community school, we had more freedom to do such activities without any interruption by the apartheid system. We would consume our own artwork and handwork products. Displaying our efforts at shows attended by our parents was another confidence booster.

We did not have a school feeding scheme at our primary school. At lunchtime, we would dash to our homes and found our parents having cooked and prepared our meals. We would enjoy the meals and still make it back to school in time for the afternoon classes. This way our parents and guardians remained connected to our education. They understood the value of preparing good lunch meals for us. But we would not be told of the kind of meal they were to prepare at lunchtime. I always looked forward to being surprised. So, it was always a good conversation among the pupils about the meals each of them got at home during lunchtime. The afternoon moods would often respond to the kind of meals you found at home during lunchtime. But children never starved. Most families had livestock and sharing was our way of collective living.

Doing handwork during the handwork period, once a week, was my favourite activity at Moripane Primary School. I loved making hats with materials from the field, like grass. I was not talented but liked the opportunity to participate in the handwork period. It built and restored my self-confidence. My identity and uniqueness were boosted and expressed in this way. During this handwork period, we would sit down at our various spots in the schoolyard and work on our pieces of artwork. The motivation of being together working on something we were so emotionally connected with was always beautiful. The environment was always inviting for anyone to ask for help when struggling with the piece of artwork. The generosity among ourselves was exemplary and motivating to each of us. We never worked alone. In hindsight, I realise that this was character building. Marks were allocated to you for your piece of artwork.

The annual athletics and choral music contests at Jane Furse and Glen-Cowie respectfully were the highlights of the years for us at Moripane Primary School. They were the opportunity for us to meet with the pupils from other schools in our region and showcase our talents. We would practice for weeks prior to the dates of contests at our own school. Even though I am not talented in both athletics and choral music I would always participate. The motivation was being part of the trips and supporting my schoolmates. Our beloved principal, Ms Madime, was known for pushing for the best treatment of our school at these annual contests. There was leadership at its best. She was respected by all the principals and teachers in the Nebo district. Our school, Moripane Primary School, was one of the smallest in the district but highly respected because of her leadership. I certainly took away a lot from being at the school during Ms Madime’s leadership.

Gardening is one of the extra-mural activities that built our character. We would be given plots in the school garden and paired in two’s per plot. I wish this was still the practice at our basic education level. We are facing more food safety risks than ever before. During the gardening period, we would follow the entire process of gardening, learning as we do so. We used to replicate this practice in our home gardens. Preparing the plot involved digging the soil, removing weeds, mixing the soil with fertilisers or manure, preparing it for planting the seeds, marking it for ease of identification, covering it against harsh weather conditions, and watering it. The school provided us with seeds or seedlings of beetroots, carrots, onions, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, etc. Growing and caring for the vegetable plots was always the proudest moment for me. Every morning before joining assembly we would make a turn at our plots and “talk” to our vegetables, admiring how beautiful they looked, and noting progress in our garden books. Gardening made us connect with the ground and nature. Covering and protecting our vegetables against harsh weather conditions like the sun, freezing cold, storms, insects, locusts, etc. was the opportunity for us to learn how to take care of nature. Of course, we would receive advice and guidance from our teachers. Daily, we had a short garden period to be in the garden. We would visit each other at our plots. To a certain extent, we were competing against each other. But we supported, offered seedlings, and supported each other. We had amazing discipline at Moripane Primary School. We would fetch water from the Ngwaritsi River to water our garden and fill up our reservoir for drinking water.

The other extra-mural activity we enjoyed very much was planting flowers and green grass in our schoolyard, the school building, and the fence, to make it look beautiful. When the flowers were blooming, and the grass was green we would take memorable pictures and put them in our photo albums.

Cleaning of the school building’s windows once a month and overall cleaning of the schoolyard, picking up papers, were mandatory and sustained without exception. Today it is considered progressive to have school children participating in the functioning of their school environment. For us, all these activities were integrated into our general education. We did not only learn to get high marks. We learned to apply the knowledge to our lives. We learned how to plan, organise, coordinate, and lead operations. The oldest among us we nominated to supervise the execution of these extra-mural activities. The occasion of the visit by the district school inspectors was always preceded by intensive cleaning of our school environment. We exercised absolute respect for our teachers and parents.

Our school was the learning ground for practising order and orderliness. The daily classes were preceded by the assembly. The late arrival for the assembly was not tolerated. So, we learned time management as early as our primary level. Dressing standard was also a character-building criterion. The keyword was cleanliness, not fashion. We were poor, and could not afford exclusive dresses, but we were made to be proud of keeping our uniform clean and wearing it decently. Shoes were always polished, shirts tucked in, and pants always clean.

My transition to secondary school was a big chapter in my educational development and growth journey. At first, I did not realise how good our primary education had been in preparing us for the transition to the secondary level of our basic education. I knew that going to secondary school marked the end of my herd boy-scholar. I will share light on this in chapter 6, titled A Herd-Boy Scholar of this book. It was also the graduation from the mandatory extra-mural activities we used to do at primary school. The foundation was laid, and we were to assume a stage of being independent at the secondary education level. Deep down inside I rejoiced. It was the beginning of a new stage wherein I would make my own decisions and choices based on my interests and life goals. I felt liberated, not because there was anything wrong with being at the primary school and being a herd-boy scholar. It was just the realisation, recognition, and acknowledgement of having achieved another milestone in my education journey. This was the first educational transition of many to come. I will address and share my experiences of such transitions in Chapter 11 (Changing Schools! Decision Making!), Chapter 13 (At Boaparankwe College), Chapter 14 (University Education), and Chapter 17 (Overseas Adventure). This was a phase in my life wherein my grandparents would have a reduced role in my decision making. I experienced the joy of wearing long pants to school, wearing a tie, carrying big textbooks in bookcases, and making new friends from other villages, and schools in our region at our new school, Malekutu High School. Of course, the dilemma was the distance we had to travel and the risk of damage that might be caused by rain during our long walks. We were resolute in taking care of our books on the road. Some of the classes at our schools had lockers for storing our books. But then one needed to have the books to study at night and over the weekends at home.

At my new school, Malekutu High School, it was not possible to participate in the school sports due to the long distance we had to walk daily. I focused on my studies. This is the best thing that could have happened. I started playing more village football instead. I had a real joy when I started playing seriously for my beloved village football club, Moripane Scientists Football Club, which was then called Moripane Lekatika Loss My Cherrie FC, the name we, the younger generation did not like much. It was the name our older brothers gave to the club. It was inspired by the rivalry with neighbouring village football clubs that went beyond the field of play to include the setting of boundaries for inter-village social relationships. The football matches often ended in violence, especially our home games. The club became known for violence and was feared by other village football clubs. We would challenge them for games. They would accept us visiting them but would not give us written matches. We changed the name to Moripane Scientists FC to avoid the stigma that was associated with the name, Moripane Lekatika Loss My Cherrie FC. My friend, Mr Obed “Sugar Ray” Mohlala, and I started the discussion about the name daily on our long walks to school. When we arrived at the name, we were so excited that we worked hard to convince the rest of the team members to agree to the name. The rest is history. I will write more about the historical background of the two names, Moripane Lekatika Loss My Cherrie FC and Moripane Scientists FC, in Chapter 7, Inspired By Village Football, later in the book.

Mondays at Malekutu High School became the day of post-weekend sports reviews and reflections during the breaks. We engaged in our weekend experiences and the results of the various regional football matches. This contributed to the development of inter-village friendship in the Sekhukhune region. Our region is still benefitting from such relationships that were started through village football matches today. It is true that football supersedes all forms of conflict. It is a nation builder. In our local area, we had a six-teams village football clubs league that was administered by the late owner of Mokwete Morning Stars FC, Ntate Selala. The others were, our village football club, Moripane Scientists FC, Malaka Eleven Experience FC, Ntwane Matlema FC, Makalaneng Smorden FC, and Maboneng Mabosehlanyana FC. In the bigger district of Sekhukhune there was a much more advanced football league, Sekhukhune Football Association in the early 80s, made of, among others, the following village football clubs, Sekwati Try Again FC, Jane Furse Highlanders FC, Schoonoord Chiefs FC, Marishane United Brothers (MUBS) FC, Molepane Blue Jaguars FC, Mojalefa Chiefs FC, Madibong Sweepers FC, Linti Fast Eleven FC, Marulaneng Happy Boys FC, Manganeng Batau Young Killers FC, Maotwa Kgomo FC, Maila Chiefs, Moretsele Wanderers FC, Photo Roman Rangers FC, Moraba Ocean Swallows FC, etc. This was like the elite football league in Sekhukhune. By the way, some of these village football clubs’ names still exist today. They are the heritage of their villages. We had visiting student players from other outlying villages and the South playing for some of these clubs. That is why the competition was so intense in those years. More players came to the rural villages after the Soweto uprising of 1976. Parents in the South were sending their children into rural villages to continue with their education. Many came to Sekhukhune. They were integrated into our schools and village football clubs.

The other phenomenon that contributed to my perspective was the Students Christian Movement (SCM). Almost every school in our region had SCM, and our schools were visiting each other on weekends to hold joint SCM events. It became fashionable to participate in the SCM structures and programmes. The visit to other schools on weekends was the most valuable proposition for students to join.

Our transition to secondary school brought other challenges to some of us. Providing lunch money presented a huge challenge to our parents since it was no longer possible to share lunch with family members. School attire and dress, in general, were also a huge problem. The long-distance walks to the school exposed our school to wear and tear. If you are lucky your parents may buy you a bicycle for riding to school. But even then, you may have to deal with shoes and pants that get damaged riding on the bicycle. Either the impact of the distance on us was always felt one way or another. It was a beautiful adventure anyway, and it taught us how to cope with the challenges of life. We would walk these long distances to and from school, and still make it to our daily village football club practice. We were resolute to see through these challenges. Even though poverty was written all over us that was not our preoccupation. In my case, I sometimes thought that people were more worried about me than I was myself. Yes, I accepted that this was subconsciously knocking my confidence level down. But I did not succumb to that pressure. I had accepted my situation and learned to live with it. I am not sure if that was a good move. However, I believe that by acknowledging the situation I was dealing with it head-on. Reflecting on it now, I can see its impact on me in my way of being. Hence, it is recognised as part of my perspective on my self-mentorship and coaching philosophy. It also informs my coaching practice and approach. For example, I prioritise the value that is delivered to the client before the pricing of my sessions. In determining the pricing for the session, the client’s situation is the one factor to consider. I value the building of the relationship with my clients to quick money-making behaviour. Coaching and mentoring are based on the relationship between the coach/mentor and the client. The clients do not choose their perspectives. They are who they are. We meet them right there where they are and partner with them on their journey to the future.

The network of friends from all these many villages in Sekhukhune presented us with many options to invite football clubs to play against our village football clubs over the weekend. So, some of the students will participate actively in the school football teams games during the week and village football clubs’ games over the weekend. The intensity of activities just kept on growing, the higher we go in our education. We kept on stretching ourselves and complying accordingly. This kind of resilience was to become a source of staying power for me many years later.

The school sport uplifted our standard of village football in Sekhukhune. The locals were reinforced by the guest students from other distant villages and the South. These guest students lived in the villages and were integrated into our village football clubs. They became heroes and were celebrated by the local fans. It is not surprising that they were well received, especially in those years. It is African tradition and practice to receive their relatives from other regions and integrate them into their homestead. We are hospitable by nature. So, they were not necessarily regarded as foreigners. We knew where they lived in the villages. Who were they living with? They participated in the village activities.

The next transition I needed to deal with well was that of going to a boarding school. This was the first time I was going away from home. Before that, I had not travelled much outside my region. That became the new and most difficult chapter in my life. Not so many students are ever ready for this transition from day schooling to a residential one. I was not ready for it but curious to experience it. I had heard that at such institutions the older students practice something called treatment on the newcomers. For the first time, I felt the same fear I experienced in Sub-A when I had to return to school after a long time being ill, and my teacher had told my schoolmates that he was going to smack me when I got back (refer to Chapter 2, The Beginning).

In hindsight, I think that the parents, guardians, educators, and mentors should intentionally hold conversations with the students about the transitions and psychologically prepare them. The trauma caused by these transitions and the new chapters in the students’ educational journeys is sometimes unbearable. They tend to have a long-term impact on them. It is for that reason that I felt obliged to write this book to become a companion to the young people and anybody in their educational journey.

Sam Tsima (last years at Boaparankwe College)

My transitions, as mentioned earlier, started with one from Moripane Primary School to Malekutu High School, the pride of the Bapedi Ba Mamone, ga kgoshi Sekwati Mampuru in those years. A year later I proceeded to Legaletlwa High School. This was followed by a search for high school to complete the last two years of matric. This was for the first time that I felt the pressure of taking such a serious life-changing independent decision. Until today, I still cannot explain why I decided to go and study at the college away from home and why I saw a need to apply for a bursary.  My uncle at Lebowakgomo, Mr Thomas Modikoe Patjane, made his car available and asked his friend to take me to Phiri Kolobe High School to look for space. When we got there, we were told that there was no space and because we had not applied, they could not even put us on a waiting list. On our way back we went via Hwiti High School at Mankweng township. The situation there was worse than at Phiri Kolobe High School. They did not even allow us to enter the administration block without an acceptance letter. We were turned back at the school gate. This is one day in my life I will never forget. I saw myself reaching a dead-end in my education journey. I became very much afraid. I had done very well in standard 8 and wanted nothing else but to go for my matric studies. On arrival back at Lebowakgomo, I reported back to my uncle. I immediately took a bus ride to my late uncle, Mr Nathaniel Phashamakgwale Patjane, at Riverside. I slept over there, and the following day took a bus to Boaparankwe College at Arabie, outside Marble Hall. I had applied and was accepted on the condition that I had a bursary. At that point, I had not received the results of my bursary application from the South African Council of Churches (SACC). I did not have any money to register for my studies. But I had faith that that last attempt had to be a success. I do not know where I was getting the confidence from. All that I did was focus on my end goal, to be accepted in matric, complete my studies with university entrance, and proceed to the university.

The bus ride to Boaparankwe College was the longest I have experienced. But my arrival was a sheer joy. I was met by the messenger of the college at the bus station. He told me that he had been looking for me for a week as the buses were arriving because the college had been expecting me. This was good news in my ear. For the first time, I started to relax and was excited that my wish was becoming the reality. The sweetest news was when I heard that the South African Council of Churches (SACC) had approved my bursary application and communicated the decision to the management at Boaparankwe College. These developments were a game-changer in my educational journey. I was given a fresh start. I almost made a huge mistake by not going to Boaparankwe College where my bursary from the SACC was directed to. That would have been disastrous. When I applied for my bursary, I informed the SACC that I had applied to study at Boaparankwe College. The SACC made a huge contribution to my education. This contribution to my education was made during the time when the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches (SACC). For two years at the college, the SACC paid for my tuition and accommodation. I passed my matric with an exemption. It would have been impossible to achieve my goals without the financial support of the SACC. That is why I am committed to doing volunteer community development work and making a difference in other people’s life.

Studying and learning at Boaparankwe College marked the last milestone of my basic education journey. It was the beginning of an interesting further education journey as I have and continue to experience. The college was initially built for the children of the kings and herdsmen. When I applied to study at the college it was already open to any member of the public to apply to study there. So, we rubbed shoulders with our kings. I am pleased to confirm that we were never made to feel that we were commoners. They carried themselves very well. Boaparankwe College was located on the grounds of Tompi Seleka Agricultural College. Some of our food supplies we got from the agricultural college. The best teachers were assigned to Boaparankwe College. Some of the royals that sent their sons to study at Boaparankwe College during my time are, the Madihlaba’s, Masemola’s, Mothiba’s, Ngoepe’s, Makgeru’s, Moloto’s, Mathebe’s, Matsepe’s, Matlala’s, Chuene’s, and Phaahla’s.

Sam Tsima (Student, Boaparankwe College)

I took the following subjects in matric, supported by the designated teachers in brackets, Mathematics (Mr Chaba), Economics (Mr Mokomane), Agricultural Science (Mr Lucas Tshehla), Biology (Mr Lucas Tshehla), English (Mr Mokomane), Afrikaans (Mr Van Vuuren), and Northern Sotho (Ms Masemola). The college had very good infrastructure and facilities. My favourite facility was the library. It had very good books for reference. I made it my regularly visited place, including during weekends. I was given the library keys on weekends to access it. The books and magazines in the library were a good source for my participation in the Science Week Olympiad which I passed as mentioned in Chapter 2, The Beginning. The student residence was right close to the classrooms. We did not have much sport at the college except the football club. More on my time at Boaparankwe College in Chapter 13, At Boaparankwe College. We would organise away football games at other schools. It was during my time at Boaparankwe College that my mentorship relationship with Mr Lucas Tshehla started. I will write about my mentors and advisors in Chapter 12, Mentors and Advisors.

The Reader’s Key Takeaway(s) and Reflections from the Chapter: As you leave your comments, we would like you to be guided by the following points.

  • Confirmations: What has been confirmed for you after having read this chapter, from a self-mentorship and coaching perspective?
  • Aha (Light Bulb) Moments: At what point(s) did you experience aha moments in the chapter, i.e. light bulb moments. That is the point(s) at which a penny dropped and you felt enlightened.
  • New Insights: What are the new insights that you have gained from reading this chapter?
  • New Knowledge: Reflect on the new knowledge (private or professional) you gained from this chapter.
  • Take Home: What are you taking home from this chapter? What would you like to share that other people in your circle of stakeholders?
  • New Practices: What are the new practices in your private and professional life you are going to apply as a result of reading this chapter?
  • New Behaviours: What are the new behaviours in your private and professional life that you are going to adopt as a result of reading this chapter?

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