The Art and Immeasurable Value of Reading

Let me just start by saying, I don’t have a degree or diploma. I did attend tertiary at some point in my life, but I didn’t get my Diploma, though it’s no one’ s fault except mine. But as a black child I always hide behind “I couldn’t finish my studies due to financial constraints “and of course everyone buys it. #beingblack.”

So, like I said I am not as educated as my peers are. I went to our local primary in my village, Segole primary school. Look don’t get me wrong, back then my primary was one of the best in the district. And the teachers were good.

Our Principal nicknamed Rangati was a good leader and a very strict teacher, my favorite teacher Mam Gwangwa taught me to be the woman that I am today. I loved that woman so much that myself and her daughter Pebetse Mpshe are still friends. My crush teacher, if you don’t have a crush teacher then you don’t have a romantic bone in your body. Mine was Meneeer Kadiaka, hmmm with his permed hair and his lazy walk, He was the teacher, right Peggy Somo? And the teacher that made u want to learn was Menner Somo, lazy walk and talk and bedroom eyes.

The point I am trying to make is that I enjoyed my primary school and the were some teaching that was done, but we did Northern Sotho as our first language and English and Afrikaans as our second.

Unlike most schools these days we were not forced to speak English in the school grounds, we all including the teachers spoke Northern Sotho (I am sorry I can’t say Sepedi because I feel like Northern Sotho and Sepedi are different, call me crazy but hey).

It is sad to say that even when I passed standard five, yes that’s what we called it back then, now it’s called Grade 7, I still couldn’t speak English, I only knew few words that they taught me.

You can imagine my ordeal when I went to high school, the problem was that my high school was a boarding school, it was one of the most respected high schools during those days.

For some reason my crush teacher and our principal persuaded my parents to take me to that boarding school, they thought I was smart enough. The nice thing about boarding school is that you meet people from different villages, townships, suburbs and sometimes countries. So there I was with my village shoes and village dresses and even my village language.

It was a huge adjustment for me. I had to learn things very fast. As a village girl I was not exposed to simple things like a roll on, yes it was that humiliating. But I worked hard to try and be on the same level. To some places I made it due to being good in Maths. Our Maths teacher, Meneer Mashala called me her daughter in law, his son Harry was going to marry me when he grows up, because he wanted to keep the Maths genes in the family. And to some places I didn’t venture, like joining the drum majorettes. Every girl ‘s dream.

But one thing I would always be grateful for from this school, was reading, because we got so bored, we read books, books from the school library, books that we borrowed each other, Boy did we read. There was nothing else to do except reading. The best part was that no one made us read. We just read books, novels, biographies and comics. We read all the Sweet Valley High books.

I enjoyed reading so much that I have read all of the Shakespeare books, I read them more than once, I read them with a dictionary first and then without until I understood the meaning of all those fancy words. Macbeth, Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.

Now where am I going with this, when I started writing my blogs, a dear friend of mine said to me, “your blogs are too long”, and she is too lazy to read.

I felt so sad but also glad that she doesn’t have young kids, because the best thing we can do for our kids especially with all these gadgets we buy for them is to encourage them to read.

Like I said I don’t have a degree, diploma or even a certificate in anything. You have been making some good comments about my blogs saying that I write very well, well here is a secret, it comes from years and years of reading, just reading.

My English is not perfect but it can save my life. I honestly didn’t learn it from school, maybe in high school when Mrs Smith and Mrs Scott’s where teaching, but mostly I learned it from reading anything that I come across.

I was even subscribed to books like “Readers Digest”, what a pain it was to receive those books, because once it arrives I have to read it, I would never throw anything away without reading it .

Quote: “A reader lives a thousands lives before he dies” by Jogen. For me reading makes me feel like I have travelled the world, it makes me feel like I have lived so many lives. Sometimes I even forget that I am just a simple person. It makes me feel like I have done and seen it all.

We need to encourage our kids to read, it is the best thing we can do for them. The world is evolving, things are changing and the technology is taking over and all of a sudden, words are being shortened and everyone thinks it’s cool to know the slang words. And that’s still fine, you still have to read, don’t you?

Read!

Georgina Mushi Soweto Sunrise News

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