I am combination of quiet subtle and loud, I really don’t have the perfect words to describe this. All of my years at crèche I was a prefect, I had my ways around my maths and literature at the same time; I loved giving everyone a chance.
I truly believe that I lived out the small voice’s instruction in every stage of my life. I lived out with such intention and such presence in every stage of my life. I remember specifically that in crèche there would always be the kids who wanted to be prefects but would not get that chance, so I started from the early age to delegate my tasks of “the list yabakhulumayo” to the kids, I had a rotation system built around this and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved how at an early age the kids around me felt validated. I believe this skill is what enabled my entire childhood to be free of bullying and anything related to that. I was a leader of the pack but I always emphasised that everyone should participate to share in this leadership thing, write the list of those abakhulumayo, this in turn meant , not everyone will be ill disciplined, because if uyakhuluma today, kusasa kuzoba nguwe okumele ubhale abanye, so uzothini ke uma ichance yakho ifika.
One thing I must state also about my growing up in this small community is, never once did I feel the segregation of being female. I don’t have a recollection of memories where I could not take a position or do something because of the fact that I am female. From crèche upwards, the school kept both a male and female prefect and I was always a prefect in all my classes and grades up to standard five (grade 7). I know I still took up the roles here and there from secondary but I was not a prefect through each and every grade from there onwards.
The fact that I was number one from crèche to secondary gave me added advantages in life, I believe. I never suffered from any kind of low self-esteem, I was always confident about myself and I always extended an opportunity to other to feel the same. Our primary school had a culture of announcing the names of the students from position 10 – 1. This was done every quarter, so in our black and white and khaki uniforms, we would line up in the school parade, do our prayers. The principal would then call out the names of those who are excelling. For the first few years it was a big deal, until when I was doing my third grade, I was so self-assured, that I would step onto the platform before they could even call out my name. I try to think of this time in life as one where I had figured out the rest of my classmates’ strengths and I knew the extent of my knowledge and strength in comparison to theirs. I think I got to a state where I knew I could not be beaten period.
Back then, we were split by languages, I was doing IsiZulu as my first languages and this meant all the kids who did isiZulu are with me in the same class. Sometimes there would be times two isiZulu classes and one SeSotho classes. From Grade 1 to 2 we kept the same teacher, he/she would be the class teacher and teach all subjects. From the next grade onwards, the teachers would alternate or we would have change in classes, a completely different routine to what I had become accustomed to.
In my entire primary school, there was one quarter where I did not get position 1. That was the first and the last quarter that I would allow myself to slip into position 2. I am tempted to say this was in 1992. Something happened in 1992, which would give me a choice. I believe that 1992 would set a course for me to choose between sadness or choose to dream about a better future for myself and for my family.