Being tops is good, until...

2017-04-27 06:02
on the runlunga adam

on the runlunga adam

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Further to my trip down school memory lane from last week, I feel it prudent to start with where it all began, which is Mzamomhle Primary School in Brown’s Farm, Philippi.

I will not bore you with the details of the first day of schooling.

First school day blues are always somewhat a blur.

But I am happy to share with you my escapades with the class crush.

Even at that age, naughtiness came to define my persona. I was vertically challenged, so to speak, and so was the girl who caught my eye.

Like me, she had big, natural hair, so you can imagine it was a match made in fur heaven. Once classmates got a whiff of this, they sprang to action.

On that day, the class teacher was not present; lo and behold, the classmates organised an impromptu wedding ceremony.

As crazy as that sounds now, the set-up was such that suddenly, we lovebirds were made to hold hands while the classmates formed a circle around us.

There was even some “you may kiss the bride” moment.

But it was not long after that our classmates threatened to snitch on us to our teacher.

The fun was over long before the ‘ink could dry up’ on the paper it was not even signed on, as it were.

Anxiety began to take hold.

They sang in unison: “Iyhuwi, alala dudu, sizakunixela ku Miss, nina benincamisana.”

Man, I have never been in so much anguis for the fate that lay ahead.

Needless to say, when I recently reunited with the girl on Facebook, we laughed about the innocence of it all.

But that was then. About four years later, I developed a similar crush-although with a touch of maturity this time-with a girl from another class.

She was out of this world, I dare say.

Then, Fridays were days on which- after the lunch break- boys were required to put the desks along the walls to allow for the girls to mop up and scrub the floors.

Those were the days that sated my flight of fancy just watching my crush rolling up her skirt, going down on all fours to clean the floor.

The little devil in me always made me to take up the best position just outside her class for a spectacular view from the window.

In my heart of hearts, Lionel Richie’s Hello always seemed to play itself out: “In my dreams I’ve kissed your lips a thousand times.” That was my fantasy.

But it was not all crushes and day dream, there was the small matter of getting an education, too. This was the era of the great corporal punishment, with canes of this sort and that flying freely. Carte Blanche for teachers. There was also the odd case of our cantankerous headmaster Mr Mngxekeza. It was unthinkable to fall behind on your work. One incentive that stood out though is that when you did your best and acquired excellent marks across all subjects, the teacher would place a gold sticker on the page.

A silver sticker denoted ‘very good’. I can safely say all my books were pasted with these on every page and just going through them was pure joy. With success, comes affection. True to the spirit of achievement, teachers always claimed me as their “child” every time I walked into the staff room.

This was always overwhelming for me. Sometimes we overlook the hard work teachers put in to mould us into better individuals.

It is gratifying to become “good stories” for them to tell.

But it also came to a point where I avoided the staff room.

To the extent that whenever a teacher asked me to go and fetch something from there, I would instead buy time by going to the ablution facilities, and return with a sob story.

There were challengers thought. I used to be top of class until a lass called Vuyokazi joined our class in Sub B or Grade 2.

Because she had arrived from the Eastern Cape, she was referred to as “Maxhoseni” by us imps. Ms Dolly always arranged for a round of applause for the top learner, whilst simultaneously chanting their last name.

Her popularity soon grew and she had a fan club. Imagine the look of defeat in my eyes whenever the whole class stood up in ovation and bellowed for her: “Ma, ma, Maxhoseni. Ma, ma, Maxhoseni.”

It didnt help that her ego became as big as Nigeria after this. But to learn from earlier on not to rest on your laurels was biggest prize since then.

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