During my school days, the teachers used to beat us like crazy. Many kids dropped out of school because of corporal punishment. They called this truancy. It was a system inherited from the apartheid era. Teachers ruled by fear.
I used to have panic attacks every Sunday evening on the thought of Mr Mabuza alone, the Maths teacher because Maths was not my strength.
I in particular remember this other day when we were doing oral reading. This is where you were required to stand in front of the class and read a story assigned to you by the teacher.
A number of children didn’t know how to read. These were particularly the older kids of the class! Who were known to have repeated every grade. The teacher would then ask, what’s wrong with you? Are you brain damaged? Are you retarded? and the class would laugh at them, HARD.
Those were hostile and dark days, If you would have asked the teachers if they knew about ADHD, ADD, Autism or Dyslexia they would in fact beat you for thinking that you are smarter than them.
Thinking about all of this now I feel very sorry for those poor kids. They are adults now, I’ve seen one of them some couple of weeks back when I went to Nelspruit my home town. He used to sit with me in class and I would deliberately let him copy my work. We never spoke about me letting him copy my work, it was something we both knew I had to do because we both knew his struggle with learning!
This guy is now running one of the biggest shops and butcheries in the township, he also has a tent business, where he hires out tents. He is indeed a very successful business person. A thousand folds better than the teacher who used to make fun of him.
And I’m thinking but this guy couldn’t read in class in fact I’m pretty sure to this day he still can’t read because he dropped out of school because of his struggle to read!
This write up is to say I’m sorry for laughing when the teachers made fun of our friends. THE TEACHERS DIDN’T KNOW THAT THEY DIDN’T KNOW!