by Tsepo Kgatlhane
Last week was rough, NO! The past couple of weeks were rather hectic. So much has been happening in my life. It feels as if I have lived a year in less than 4 months. I am trying really hard to remember everything I do and the emotions I go through on daily basis, hence I have decided to start keeping a
journal and share with you, what I go through weekly, in my pursuit of being the change I want to see in the world.
“I work very hard and I want young men and women to know you have to work very hard”– Maya Angelou
“They are all my children”
When asked, I describe myself in four words: I am an educator. I work from Monday to Friday. I wake up at 6am to be at school at 7:15am to start teaching Life Orientation to grades 11 and 12; English FAL to grades 9 for 8 periods every day till 2:30 pm. During breaks I also run various projects such as the Youth Citizen Project (YCAP) with grade 10 and 11 students focused on various campaigns to address the social and environmental issues in our school community.
I love my students and they love me too because I continuously motivate them to dream and have a vision and show them the critical role, education can play in their lives. I lead by example and excellence; I always make sure they see me work hard.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
I was recently nominated in the Volksblad, Anglo American, Northern Cape Citizen of the Year competition for all the philanthropic work that I do in my community. ‘What an honor!’ is what I said to myself when I went for the interview round this past Friday in Kimberley. I hope it all goes well. If you have ever been to the Northern Cape you would know how big this province is. I am one of 6 people to have been nominated in this category. I haven’t really expressed how happy I am, I have just used the
expression ‘I am humbled by the nomination’ over and over.
I do not want it to get to my head; I am truly humbled by it. I am trying. The Gala award ceremony was held on the 28 May in Kathu, approximately 45 kilometers away from Kuruman.
What will I wear and who will I take with me?
I have so many people who claim to be my friends just because they know me.
Wednesday, 28 May
I have been invited to address The Kuruman Women Agricultural Association (KWAA).
Not sure what it is but at least I got a brief about what they want me talk about, my Afrikaans show on Kurara FM. I cannot wait, it has been a long dream of mine to expand my brand and grow in the Afrikaans community. How am I going to do all this on Wednesday? Have to be productive at school, deliver a speech at the KWAA, get an outfit and be on time for the Gala event.
“If a human being dares to dream a great dream, dares to love somebody, dares to be Martin King, or Mahatma Gandhi, or Mother Teresa, or Malcolm X. If a human being dares to be bigger than the condition in which she or he was born, it means so can you” – Maya Angelou
Finally decided to call Thato Tfee Kaebis, spoke to him a few weeks ago and told him on night out that I need someone who can help me with my various projects and just be there like an assistant. So he came on Monday and he is going to be shadowing me for the next few weeks. I introduce him as my assistant but he is more than that to me. Thato reminds me a lot of my friend Gift, he is very talented.
He is only 23 and I remember where I was at age 23, gay and confused.
I was uncertain of what I was supposed to do with my life and whether teaching was the right career for me. My assistant, as I refer to him when I introduce him to people, came at the right time!
Today I was reminded that I need to submit my Grade 11 and 12 master files and learner portfolios for district and provincial moderation in less than 2 days, about 200 learner portfolios. How am I going to survive?
“I was here” – Beyonce
School has become a place that I do not like. I feel like I am always on defense, making my voice heard. Everyone has congratulated me on my nomination but I could not help but notice that the people whom I spend most of my time with did not say anything. I do not know what to make of it. Is it jealousy, envy or hatred? Don’t know all I know is that I can stand people who do not like me because of my sexuality because that is largely due to ignorance but people who cannot even congratulate you when it is deserved are another story.
Haai Ke! Lucky enough for me, my mom warned me about such people who never give credit where credit is due. Today I was forced to say something in the information session and inform the staff that one of my students would be accompanying me to The Northern Cape citizen Gala dinner where the announcement will be made. Only then was I congratulated.
“I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls” – Martin Luther King JR.
School came out at 2pm today and luckily I managed to get a lift to the venue where I was to deliver my speech. I couldn’t bear the thought of taking a taxi to town, hike to the venue and get there late. I hate being late and it is something that I am working on.
The Kuruman Women Agricultural Association is a women’s organization which offers its members personal growth which offers opportunities for personal advancement and community service. So after reading that on the program which was handed to me as I entered the hall I realized why I was invited to be the first speaker for the day and have to address middle aged and old women who made me feel welcome despite my skin colour. They were very interested in what I had to say and as to why I had been invited to address them.
“Goeie Middag dames en meneer, Ek voel baie geeerd om vanmiddag saam met julle hier te kan wees. Baie dankie vir die uitnodiging.”
They didn’t expect this. I spoke to them about my radio show which is on Saturdays and how I felt in 2012 when I was one of the first two presenters to have gone live on air. What an experience! One lady who gave me a lift back in to town remarked that today’s KWAA gathering was very refreshing not sure what she meant guess she enjoyed having me there. I made a lot of contacts on the day and saw my former Librarian, Me Erasmus. She is old now and could not remember me but it was nice seeing her after all these years. It was a nice experience and wish I could have stayed longer but needed to get an outfit for the Gala dinner which was took place 3 hours later.
“There is no failure except in no longer trying”– Elbert Hubbard.
I got a very nice white shirt with black detail that I decided to wear with my white and black blazer and black chino pants. Outfit sorted. So now I needed to check on all the people I invited to confirm as to where we would meet and what time we would be departing. I invited my mom, aunt, her husband and younger brother. I also invited one of my students to come and bear testimony to what I always tell them and show them. Nthabiseng, my friend who always travels with me, also accompanied me and I had to organize alternative transport at the last minute and invite 3 additional guests at the last minute one of them being a friend of mine.
I arrived about 15 minutes late – remember I hate it and I am working on it – to what was a beautiful event. If ever I wanted to feel appreciated Volksblad showed me how much they appreciated all I do. Got to meet some of the 6 nominees in my category and got to hear what they had done in their communities. I am inspired not only by their stories but by Nianel singing too. I have always loved her.
Being nominated in the Northern Cape Citizen of the year competition and having my family and friends who have supported me in all my endeavors their really meant a lot to me .Words cannot adequately describe just how much. Unfortunately I wasn’t selected Northern Cape Citizen of the year for 2013 .The award went to a man who rescued a dog from the Big hole last year and who has dedicated his life to helping people. He forms part of the SAPS.
His beautiful wife whom I had the privilege of speaking to accepted the award on his behalf. He was a worthy winner as this was his second time having being nominated.
I feel honored to have been nominated alongside such a great man who has inspired me to keep on trying to be the change…
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