ANDILE “Boy” Bhengu is now a “man”. The seven-year-old Grade Two pupil at Langsyde Primary School, at Elandskop near Pietermaritzburg, pestered his father during the festive season to take him for circumcision, because he did not want to go back to school this year still a boy. “He saw all those other boys on television that had undergone circumcision and said they had now become men, and pestered his father that he also wanted to go, because he did not want to go back to school still a boy, so we took him to a doctor,” said his mother Nomusa Bhengu. He had pleaded with his family to move him to Langsyde because his sister, to whom he is very close, studies there. Yesterday, The Witness visited him at home and accompanied him to school on his first day back this year. This turned him into a mini celebrity with other children watching his every move and one or two of the elders in the area coming to watch while The Witness was taking his pictures. Since being profiled, Andile had been working hard to keep his school progress in line with his newspaper profile and not tarnish his image. “He is a very smart boy. Sometimes it scares me, because his wisdom is beyond his age … because he has been profiled in the newspaper before, he works hard and tells all his friends that he wants to be on [top] of his school grade because he does not want to fail and find himself repeating the grade the next year,” she continued. Andile, a lively and confident young “man”, said he was enjoying his schooling, and is learning to speak English. Showing off his new English vocabulary, he recited the names of different colours for The Witness. The fact that he is now a “man” meant that he now had to help out around the house, doing chores. Speaking to The Witness after returning home from school, he said he had enjoyed his first day in his new grade. “We were learning maths and we learned Zulu and we played a lot.” This, said his much older sister Snegugu, was evident as he came home with his shoes dusty and his shirt almost off. His passion, however, remained his horse Champion; the family has four others. “I like riding horses, even the ones that kick. I am not afraid of them and I can hold them.” ‘Witness’ has been tracking Andile’s school progress since 2012 THE Witness has been tracking Andile’s school progress for the past three years. The journey started in 2012 when he started Grade R at Sombongangani Primary School and again last year when he went to Langsyde to start his first grade.