Gran goes back to school after putting family first

2012-01-06 00:00

PASSING matric is a huge achievement, but for 63-year-old Thembeni Vezi being KwaZulu-Natal’s 2011 top adult pupil makes it even sweeter.

Clutching her certificate close to her chest like a precious ornament, Vezi shared with The Witness her dreams to study further.

Vezi said: “I still have a fresh mind and I am very energetic and hungry for knowledge, that is why being a pensioner without qualifications is not good enough.

“If my grandchildren who helped and supported me through school are still willing to help me, then I want to study further,” she said.

Looking at Vezi, one could never tell that she is past the age of 60.

The grey on her head is covered by curly black braids and her fashionable blue silk blouse coupled with a petite black skirt show that she is as young as she feels.

Behind her spunky attitude is a determined woman who dropped out of school at the age of 20 to raise her children and take care of her husband. After her husband of 20 years died, she made a decision to return to school.

She said: “Having to go back to grade eight because the curriculum has changed was very hard. The OBE system was very confusing especially since I am no longer that young, but through the support of my teachers and principal I managed.

“I do not regret dropping out of school in grade 11 to take care of my family all those years ago because it was a decision made out of love.

“I would like to get into business now and I have a feeling I would make a great businesswoman.”

Bonani Mpinga, principal of Siyazama Adult Learning Centre where Vezi studied, described her as a dedicated pupil who is not afraid to ask questions.

“She is very dedicated and knows what she wants in life. If we are going through a subject and she does not understand, she will stay after class just to get clarity. Most elderly people limit themselves because they feel that they cannot study further because of their age, but you are never too old to learn,” said Mpinga.

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