Big brother role for Andile

2018-01-18 15:11
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Andile's back and he's ready for grade five

It was the beginning of yet another school year for 10-year-old Andile Bhengu.

After the long school holidays, waking up for the first day of school on Wednesday seemed a bit of a challenge for Andile Bhengu (11) who is now in Grade 6.

The Witness has been documenting Andile’s first day of school every year since Grade R. The journey began in 2012 when he started his Grade R at Sombongangani Primary School, and continued when he went to Langsyde Primary to start Grade 1.

On Wednesday Andile was woken up by his mother, Nomusa. While he was taking a bath, the mother said Andile had been excited about The Witness coming to shadow him yet again on his first day of school.

“By yesterday [Tuesday] morning he had made sure all his school things were ready. He asked that his school uniform be ironed and by noon he had hung it in the dining room ready for today,” she said.

Nomusa said that being shadowed by the media on his first day of school made Andile want to excel at school.

Despite his mother offering to dress him, he was determined to dress himself this year. “I can now tie my own tie,” Andile shyly told The Witness as he demonstrated, adding that his friends at school had taught him how to do it.

Andile, who spent his holidays riding his new horse, Mkhonto, said he was excited about finally going back to school as he had been missing his friends and was ecstatic about being in Grade 6.

The pupil has chopped and changed his ideas about what career he will pursue — from becoming a police officer like his father to later wanting to become a dentist — but now remains convinced he wants to become a doctor, as he told The Witness last year.

“I enjoyed writing tests at the end of last year. My favourite subjects were English and IsiZulu and I got really good marks for the two subjects,” he said.

Among his highlights for the past year was running at school for which he won two medals, and getting his first cellphone.

“He is very eager to start running again this year because he saw how the pupils in the higher grades go on outings and sleep at hotels and he also wants that,” said Nomusa.

This year, Andile has the “big brother” task of taking care of his two younger cousins — Amahle (6) and Ntando Sosibo (6) — who started Grade 1 at Langsyde on Wednesday.

Ntando said he feared being bullied at “big school” but Andile reassured the two that he would keep an eye on them and make sure no one bothered them.

Seeing the children off before leaving for school and reminding him to look after his cousins were Andile’s older sisters — Sinegugu (25), who is now a social sciences master’s degree student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Nompilo (19), who is set to start her first year at the Mangosuthu University of Technology where she will be studying marketing.

When Andile arrived at school he was greeted by his friends who all seemed as excited as he was about the first day of school.

Speaking to The Witness after school, he said his first day had been “fun and exciting” and he was hopeful that the year would continue on that path.

His mother said that despite Andile having spent most of his day playing soccer at school, she was surprised that he had not dirtied his school uniform. “He is definitely growing up” she laughed.

Read more on:    back to school  |  pietermaritzburg

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