A tribute to a great teacher

2015-06-11 06:01

Sisa Qwesha with an unidentified colleague

Sisa Qwesha with an unidentified colleague

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The year was 2001. March was the month.

For, that was the first time I had met up-close with Mr Sisa Qwesha during my days at Vukani Primary School in Lower Crossroads.

My former beloved teacher passed away last Sunday, having been ill for some time. I could not believe the news when it reached me.

On that day in March, having just been called outside of class by three of my Grade 6 teachers, to be informed: “You had been promoted to the next grade, and that you must take your chair to the big Grade 7 classroom downstairs.”

Oh, the disbelief and excitement! It all seemed short-lived though, for just as I knocked on the door of grade 7, there was no response.

My nerves were frayed, but I soon calmed upon realising that it was in the middle of a lesson.

Mr Qwesha couldn’t hear my knocks!

I then just opened the door, and, not wanting to be the centre of attention, as it were, I tiptoed and went on to squeeze myself between two learners who were sitting in the desk closest to the entrance.

No one else even noticed my ‘low-key’ arrival, save for the two ‘squeezes’, who had shock and confusion registered on their facades.

After a while, and recognising my presence, Mr Qwesha made a casual introduction to the class.

“Oh, by the way, this is Lunga Adam, your new classmate.” What cheek! I had thought such occasions warranted an ovation. Or some such display of great feat.

But the journey during the course of that year was wonderful. Mr Qwesha was a likeable fellow, whose personality and warmth of character endeared him to learners and colleagues alike.

Back then, you were careful with your gags, in case the ubiquitous cane got the better of you.

There was aptly named Mr Mnqayi, aka Sir Knobkerrie, who would hand you a good one just for staring at him.

In the company of Mr Qwesha, we all felt some kind of freedom. He taught us Technology and Life Orientation, and was passionate about the teaching profession. Despite being vertically challenged, he took it all in his stride. I am not sure if it was because of the rigours of being a Grade 7 teacher or whether it was in his nature, but he was relentless in his supply of schoolwork.

My fondest memory is of him walking into class with a pile of paperwork.

‘Meneer’ had a loud but soft voice and was a straight talker. When it came to telling you off, he was masterful, excuse the pun.

Like most of the teachers at the school, he had a liking to me.

Towards the end of that year when we were preparing for our farewell function, he called me aside and asked me to make the valedictory speech.

Being a shy person, I thought that was asking much from me.

The farewell was held at the Gardens in Claremont.

I felt very nervous and jittery. At some point I decided there was no way to handle stage fright.

Sad to say that during the meal he came over to my table and whispered in my ear: “The stage is set, go and give that speech.” I mumbled an excuse and failed all and sundry in one instant.

With the benefit of hindsight and a more mature outlook on life, I must say I regret making that decision and had been silently hoping that one day, in some way, I was going to make up for it. But death had other ideas. It’s a sad day.

His long-time colleague Nikki Manikivana shared thus: He was a gentleman and fun to work with although he was very serious about his work. When he spoke you couldn’t help but laugh as he had a great sense of humour.

I liked it when he scolded his learners when they hadn’t done their projects or failed his tests, telling them, “Ingqondo zenu nina zigcwele njee i Grandpa!”

He would be angry but you could not miss the love and concern for the future of the learners. He would spend time trying drum in them the consequences of slovenliness. Sadly, you would also hear that he had collapsed due to his epilepsy fits.

You will always be missed Bibo, Stakavana, Msawawa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Mkhwebane makes her mark

15 minutes ago

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.