During my school days you joined a typing or Home Economics class at the risk of being called a sissy. So, although I knew I wanted to write, I did woodwork instead. We call those the good old days.
Fortunately for me, during those extended school boycotts some friends of mine and I took part in classes of an NGO called GPP (Grahamstown People’s Programme). My three friends took up karate, I took a piano class. Because I wanted to be closer to a certain girl, I joined the typing class just for the hell of it.
I remember Elvis teasing me saying he’d need a secretary in future. I did not know then that I’d need to use a computer most of my working life. In fact he (Elvis) became a policeman; and I suppose his karate comes in handy there.
I’m reminded of this as I currently work with schools. I motivate learners by saying their true potential is sometimes not discovered in the curricula classes but in the extra-mural activities they join. I tell them the story of Mcebisi Ntleki who is now a professor at Oxford University.
He comes from Grahamstown, from the same disadvantaged schoos as the rest of us. But because he cherished the challenges that came his way, some unselfish white teachers pushed him to pastures that eventually cultivated his mind.
Opportunities come and go. But the youth don’t always want to lose their spare time, do they? We have to prod them along nevertheless. That is the task that the VSA and awareNet have.