Tears, runners and bribes on first day of school in Gugulethu

2016-01-13 11:37
(Thulani Gqirana, News24)

(Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Cape Town – What time does school finish? When can I get out of here?

These were some of the burning questions teary Grade R and Grade 1 pupils desperately sought answers to as they started their school careers at Intshinga Primary School in Gugulethu, Cape Town, on Wednesday.

Clad in uniforms too big for their small frames, some pupils cried, kicked and one even tried to make a run for it in a desperate bid to get out of the first day of school. He came very close to "escaping", but his efforts were thwarted within reach of the front gate.

Inside, parents offered bribes and teachers jokingly threatened to call the police to deal with crying pupils as the children clung desperately to parents and grandparents.

And while some piped down during assembly prayers, the cries and the desperate pleas for home started up again as soon as the pupils were being directed towards their classes.

Parents said they had tried to explain that big school was different to crèche, but some only realised the severity of the situation when their parents were leaving.

Misiwe Mnyakeni, 57, was dropping off her grandson Akhile Jiya, 6, who balked and cried at going in to a classroom.

"He knows this is not crèche and he was fine all the way here. I think he thought his mother was going to drop him off, but she is taking the older child to high school. He will get used to it," Mnyakeni said, begging her grandson "to give school a chance".

(Thulani Gqirana, News24)

Six-year-old Zikhona Apleni said she was ready to tackle Grade 1, but as soon as the bell rang, she lost her bravado and started weeping.

Her mom, Nandi, promised that the day wouldn’t be long and she would be home in no time.

"I am so nervous, and excited at the same time seeing my little one off on her first day. But she will handle it," Apleni said.

And if having to wake up early and don school uniforms for the first time did not make it clear holidays were over, the welcome speech by principal Vuyokazi Vinqi did.

She encouraged the children to keep their hair neat, and to get rid of the "Teko Modise hairstyles", as Christmas was gone.

Trying to promote proper time keeping, the principal told them porridge was served between 07:30 and no later than 07:50. School started at 07:55.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education

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