Thobile Maso: Journey Of My Soul


In 1977 an incident that also marked the historical occurrence happened in my school. When the students heard about the death of Steve Biko, they planned to boycott school. So somebody had written on the board that there would be no school in the following day. When the teacher came he wanted to know who had written it but nobody came forth. The teacher then decided to give us all a hiding. I was determined in my mind that I would not be punished for something I knew very well that I had not done. So when it was my turn I refused to stretch out my hand and tried to explain to the teacher that I was not guilty. The challenge for me was that, that I was older than the rest of the class and did not want to be embarrassed in front of children. Unfortunately, the teacher did not want to listen to my reasoning and decided that I was being cheeky. He slapped me but when he tried again I caught his hand. He was angry and tried with another hand but I caught both of his hands before he reached me. I fought back in a way of defending myself. There was a noise now in the class as I went for the teacher and landed my angry blows on him. Another female teacher heard the commotion and came to see. When she saw what was happening she intervened by standing between us in an effort to protect the teacher from me. The female teacher was very tall and the male teacher was short and so the female teacher conveniently hid him from me. I was so angry with him that I reached to him from sides. Whenever he peeped from the sides he met with blows and this went on for some time until the female teacher managed to cool me down by talking to me about my future in education.

This was an unfortunate incident to have happened to a student who was struggling financially to go through his schooling. I was suspended from school. I was also called to meet the school board. The teacher was not in the board meeting, I started to realise that I was at a vulnerable situation I was afraid to apologise incase that was misinterpreted of guilty admission. At this point appreciating the reality of my situation and how this otherwise incident threatened my education and future. The board settled the matter by scolding me and I was given a warning. The air was cleared forever when I met the teacher on my way to the library one day. We talked and decided to let the matter be a bye gone. I think what also helped me was that the teachers were aware that I was a hard worker and a determined child.

I passed std 8 at Ebenezer Majombozi Secondary School. Even before the examinations I was already thinking of how difficult it would be for me to make it for std 9 and 10. In an attempt to secure funds I approached my friend’s mother who suggested I find a job and go to a night school. This was a discouraging idea for me as I was determined to complete my education. It also carried with it echoes of disinterest.

There was a woman who used to give me money to go to the cinema she had only a daughter, she was going to do the same standard. I approached her and asked her to pay my fees with the promise that once I finish school I will pay her back. She was willing to assist me even when I suggested that we commit our agreement in writing she refused and said that may be one day it will be my turn to help her daughter who was also going to do standard 9 and 10. She paid my fees at Wongalethu High School in Mdantsane. During my high school days, I became very active in dramas and singing. This is the time also when I got involved in students movement, which was started as a Students’ Church Movement (SCM).

Around this time it was time for me to become a man, to go to the initiation school. I approached the lady who was assisting me with fees she consulted her relatives who pledged their support. Then I was given money to buy all the necessary things to complete all the ceremonies and rituals. So after std 9 I left for the initiation school and came back, in the following year to complete Matric.

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Autobiography of Thobile Maso©Tobile Maso 2007

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