FEEL GOOD | 'I am so grateful' - Potch old boys buy 'Uncle Solly' a truck after 46 years at school

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Solly Mokoena with his truck.
Solly Mokoena with his truck.
Supplied: Peter Morey
  • Potchefstroom old boys surprised their "Uncle Solly" with a truck.
  • Solly Mokoena worked at the Potchefstroom High School for Boys.
  • He worked there for 46 years.

A former employee of Potchefstroom High School for Boys in North West says he is so grateful after a group of old boys bought him a truck.

"They asked me what they can do for me, and I said, 'Please buy me a bakkie', they bought me a truck and I am so grateful. I can use it for myself.

"I started working at the school in the 1960s, and my time was very good there," Solly Mokoena told News24 on Friday.

Mokoena entered the gates of Potchefstroom High School for Boys as an employee at 19.

He worked there for 46 years.

"I started off stoking the fires – I worked in the kitchens, the grounds and was a messenger and a driver. Whenever the boys had a sports match, I would take them, and it was really good because thanks to Boys High sport, I got to see the whole of South Africa," he said.

READ | FEEL GOOD | Scholarship programme sends Tembisa teen to university

Even though Mokoena walked out of the school gates for the last time, he was still remembered by the former pupils who mentioned him in a collection of exciting stories of their years at "College" on a social media page.

The old boys began to share their stories of "Uncle Solly". This included how he knew every first team rugby player by name; how his strong fingers could pinch a wrongdoer into submission; and his laughter that always echoed down the corridors.

"When we needed food, he was there; when the fields needed tending, he was there, and he always brought laughter," former pupil Rorisang Matsiela said.

Another former pupil fondly reflected on how Uncle Solly comforted him when he shed a tear as he missed home.

Fast forward a few years, and the old boys got into contact with his family and found out he is a subsistence farmer on the outskirts of Rustenburg.

This sparked the "Get Solly a bakkie by Christmas" initiative that saw donations pouring in from former pupils, former teachers and others associated with the Potchefstroom High School for Boys.

Mokoena and his family met with a small group of former pupils on Saturday, 27 March, when he received a heavy-load Nissan Cabstar delivery vehicle.

This came after the old boys raised more than R150 000.

Chairperson of the Potchefstroom Boys High Old Boys society Basil Kletz described this initiative as "the heart of College".

"It never changes – good people, a decade in and decade out. We're there for each other, always. Uncle Solly is now an official honorary Old Mooi, and we are proud, as always, to have him amongst us," Kletz said.

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