He’s barely articulate enough to express himself, but two-year-old Omphile Tswai’s ability to read and identify geometric shapes is beyond his age.
At first glance, Omphile is a normal toddler. But as soon as a book is placed in front of him, you would mistake him for a primary school pupil.
“He can’t even tell us when he needs the toilet,” says Omphile’s mom, Lebogang (40). “However, he can read an entire book from cover to cover even though he doesn’t really understand what he’s reading. Omphile can read words such as ‘suggestion’ and he knows how to read a sentence as a question when he sees a question mark at the end of it.”
Lebogang, who is currently unemployed, says her son started showing signs that he was unusually smart for his age when he was between eight and 11 months old.
He was able to identify and name colours when he came across them, she tells us.
“If someone walked into the room wearing a brown item of clothing, Omphile would say ‘brown colour’,” Lebogang says.
In a few months, the boy from Mabopane, Tshwane township, started writing using both hands. He was also navigating phones to watch educational YouTube videos without any adult assistance.
Lebogang says Omphile was able to identify shapes like hexagons and trapezoid – shapes she herself and his father Hemilton Zungu (38) couldn’t even name.
“He can also tell you that a triangle has a tip while a trapezoid has a flat surface on top,” she continues.
The boy, who’s been dubbed a genius by those who’ve witnessed his intellectual prowess, gets along with peers his age but his mother says playtime becomes a bore after a while.
What never gets old, however, is his love for learning.
She says it hurts her a little that he doesn’t play with normal toys for boys his age like miniature cars, but she’s comforted by the fact that he can play with other children his age.
She initially thought Omphile’s intelligence was spurred by the videos he watched on YouTube, but has decided to take him for an IQ test later this week to ensure that they give him the support he needs.
“It will help us establish which school to take him to and ensure that he’s not held back in any way. As smart as he is, you’d find that he might fail at a normal school because it’s possible he won't fit in,” she reasons.
All Lebogang wishes for her son is that Omphile enrols in a school that will support his intellectual development and that he’ll make something of his life.
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