The first day of school has the nation cheering


Ukhanyo learners at the end of their devotion assembly


Hi Aunty Bella


Sorry I missed your call this afternoon. I know you have bragging rights about Storm being at "big" school now.

I am sure the water in the knee wasn't so bad today because it is isn't full moon anymore and you don't have to run after all those grandchildren anymore, lol. ( don't worry, I won't tell on you). And now you can use your new smartphone that Uncle Johnny gave you for Christmas. Yes, we saw all the pics of Brad, Leah and Storm on Facebook and Whatsapp. You are really a pro now too on all these social media forms.

Wasn't today a fantastic day here in our wonderful rainbow country? Did you also follow the wall-to-wall covering of the learners going back to school today? Facebook was like a reality show where all our nation's children were photographed either at home, in the classroom or outside on the school grounds. Amazing stuff hey!

And what did you think of all the whatsapp, bbm statuses and posts? Goodness, I could not even keep up with all the twitter feeds which were filling my screen by the second.Shoo, I was drifting from one province to the next, from one school in a rural area to another in the leafy suburbs, then back again to my friends' homes and their children's schools.

This was absolute bliss! All those inspirational messages made my heart skip a beat. Imagine hearing "Emotions high as kids start school". " Education is the best equalizer" and " Learn now and tomorrow will be yours" . We saw the headlines celebrating that "Schools open smoothly", "underprivileged learners get surprise visits" and many more. Even the radio stations went completely gaga about the first school day.

I must share this with you. I visited Ukhanyo Primary School this morning and joined them for their assembly and devotion time. There was this pastor who wished the learners well and the School Governing Body chairperson was there too to pass on the greetings of the parents. Isn't it encouraging to see how people care about the children? The principal says these two men regularly visit the school to motivate the learners. Then, when the assembly ended, the learners left, singing a praise song in unison. What a cool way of sending the learners off their classes, I thought. Everybody left the assembly area, singing and moving harmoniously to their classrooms.


Really,the whole nation was behind the learners today. And you know, Aunty Bella, this is how it should be for the rest of the year for our children. So, don't stop posting pics of the grandchildren and keep asking your nosy neighbour how her children are doing until we celebrate New Year's Eve again.


I hope everybody is going to keep our children in the "good" news like they did today. You can see how excited all the children are. We must keep them interested. We have to show them we genuinely care about them and then they will blossom. They are too young and too vulnerable to keep themselves motivated and focused. It's like you always say: Children need love, and we agree with you.


That's why our children look up to us, the adults. Even though they don't say it or show it, our children see us as their leaders. So, when President Joyce Banda said in her tribute to our departed Madiba that "Leadership is about falling in love with the people and the people falling in love with you, " she was also reminding us to be this kind of leader.

Now, rest the knee while you catch up with all your soapies in the mornings. If you feel up to it, you can even volunteer an hour at Storm's school to read with the learners. You will enjoy that and you will get a chance to get to know your grandson's teachers.

Regards to Uncle Johnny. I can't whatsapp him because his phone is like a museum piece. Perhaps you can surprise him with a smartphone gift for his birthday in March and then he can also be your facebook friend.

Michael Tyali, Head of Ukhanyo




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