WATCH | Brave new world as little ones start lessons
A day after being on their best behaviour during orientation, many children starting school for the first time lost the sparkle in their eyes and their smiles turned to tears as reality set in.
BJ Mnyanda Primary School grade R teacher Nontuthuzelo Monki had to cope with two little ones at the Kwazakhele school who could not stop sobbing.
Sothe Xakavu, 5, and a classmate — who was so upset that the teachers could not even get him to tell them his name — had been crying for two hours straight when a Herald team arrived at the grade R class.
Sothe was screaming that she just wanted to go home.
Asked why she was crying, Sothe said: “I want my father!”
The little girl just continued to cry when asked if she was not happy to be at school.
It was a day of highs and lows in Nelson Mandela Bay as thousands of children tackled their first day of school on Wednesday.
It was mission impossible to find out what the other crying child’s name was.
The boy, 5, refused to take a seat and did not utter a word.
Monki continued with the lesson plan for the first day, saying “the crybabies will get tired eventually and join the fun”.
At the other end of the school, Tombizanele Mcitheka’s grade 1 classmates were eager to learn how to read.
Lingomso Noqakala, 6, said she was excited about the year ahead.
“I’m very excited to learn more and to learn how to read and write,” she said.
The bubbly six-year-old said she wanted to be a policewoman when she grew up.
“I want to arrest all the criminals,” she said.
At Sanctor Primary school in Bethelsdorp, Lamar Whitebooi, 5, made a dash for freedom, but his escape was foiled by his teacher, Jo-Anne Hughes, who caught the little Flash Gordon by the arm as he made a break for the door.
His classmate, Micayla de Jager, 5, was, however, excited about her first day in “big school” and couldn’t stop smiling.
“I’m happy to start school. I want to make new friends and learn new things.” Micayla said.
Micayla’s mom, Jocinda, said she was more anxious about her daughter’s first day at school than the little girl.
“She has been so excited about this day — she was the one rushing me to leave the house so we wouldn’t be late.
“I’m nervous to leave her but I know she’s going to be OK because she’s a very friendly child.” De Jager said.
With a bag almost as big as she is, Jazmine Sharpley, 8, proudly left her mother, Jenilee van der Byl, at the gates of Brylin Academy in Fairview as she started her first day in grade 4.
Jazmine said that while she would miss certain aspects of the school holidays, she was glad to be back at school.
“I missed my friends and teachers. Yes, holidays are fun but school is more entertaining.
“There is so much more to do when you are at school — not only playing with friends but learning things you never knew about,” she said.
Grade 1 pupils at Ben Sinuka Primary School in New Brighton marched along in single file from their old grade R class to their grade 1 class.
Following them was a grade R pupil who seemed to be everyone’s favourite.
Luphawu Xhosana, 5, was handing out ice lollies to some of the teachers.
A short while later, Luphawu walked into Nombeko Nkenda’s grade 1 class, looking for his school backpack.
Luphawu clung to his grade R teacher, Nomatamsanqa Camagu, crying, as she asked if anyone had seem his school bag.
Camagu said it was evident that he would not have a good day until he found his bag.