Learning’s lekker for Ousus Ben

2011-05-28 16:02

She has four children, 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, and she has just written her last matric subject!

Ousus Ben, as the community calls her, is 71-year-old Magdalena Klaase from Garies in ­Northern Cape.

And she reckons you are never too old to learn.

Ousus Ben joined other adults at night school in the classrooms of JJ Lambert Primary, the same school she attended when she was a child.

She decided in 2009 to complete the senior certificate offered by the national education department’s adult education programme. She has to pass six ­subjects to receive her Umalusi ­senior certificate.

Ousus says the exams were “lekker” and she is hoping for good marks when the results are released in August. Her last subject was biology.

“Knowledge is might. Seize the day and you will have a fulfilled life,” is her advice to young people.

The drive to complete her ­matric comes from her own life – her parents Piet and Katriena Toontjies were illiterate and dirt poor.

She passed grade 10 as a child, and then went on to Worcester to study education.

But life dealt her dreams a harsh blow as she was forced to give up her studies when her mother fell ill.

But the seed “to reach new heights” was already planted and she later taught as an unqualified teacher at the Marais Gedenk ­primary school in Hondeklipbaai.

Proudly she shows off her Umalusi improvement certificates which confirm she has ­already passed Afrikaans, ­English, history, geography and ­business economics.

She rewrote geography and “Ingels” last year to improve her marks.

But not only is she a good learner. She is beloved in her community as a carer for the old and infirm.

The concept of ubuntu and ­improving yourself was drummed into her from an early age.

“The Word and the church are my guidelines and made me see the need of the people around me. I am in Garies to serve my people,” she said.

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