I visited my primary school last week and I would strongly recommend it as an exercise at least once in your life.
It truly is a wonderful way to relive some fond childhood memories of playing kennetjie or drie blikkies for what seemed to be breaks that weren’t nearly long enough.
I remembered how much fun it was to be given the job to go ring the bell between periods. You had to run down the passages and corridors with this big brass bell to make sure everybody heard it. Getting bell duty meant that you had to be good, do all your homework and not annoy the teacher too much. I didn’t get bell duty a lot!
But it’s not just about the nostalgia. Revisiting your old school may also give you some ideas for how to help out. I attended Brambleway Primary in Bonteheuwel as a pikkie and – except for the one hiding from the principal Mr Pedro – I have only warm memories of that school and its teachers.
My fondest is of the English teacher, Miss Una Fortes, whom I credit for making me believe in impossible dreams.
But things have gone down there quite a bit now and the new principal, Mrs Lekay, clearly struggles with resources. Is it just my imagination, or does every school have a teacher named Lekay?
Anyway, this Mrs Lekay uses her personal time after school to do her admin, because a shortage of staff means she teaches two classes during the day.
She also spends a lot of time asking and begging for teaching essentials.
She tells me that teachers are reluctant to work in Bonteheuwel, and I don’t blame them.
My old school has so much fencing, burglar bars and security gates, it looks almost like a prison.
But it got me thinking, wouldn’t it be fabulous if we volunteered our new adult skills to our old schools once a month?
Instead of just moaning and blaming government, I can picture a Saturday when the old boys and girls rock up, ready to offer whatever skill they have for the day.
Plumbers, painters, gardeners, engineers, welders, glass cutters, tilers, and everyone else not scared of hard work.
At the end of the day, we would have a beautiful working building that would inspire the kids again.
I know volunteering and working for free isn’t really in Coloured nature, but it is partly because of those schools that we are who we are today.
And they can clearly do with our help.