My name is Idah Khumalo. I grew up in a village called Amazizi in the Drakensberg Mountains called Amazizi village, which is where I have grown up from. I really enjoy working at the Royal Drakensberg Primary School which is a small school situated in Northern Drakensberg.
I have worked at RDP for over ten years and I have really treasured my time at the school. During the ten years of my teaching I have experienced some challenges but the learning’s have made everything worthwhile. Having to work with different types of people who have absolute different backgrounds with me was one of the challenges but has turned out to be a good experience.
Teachers come and go, young vibrant teachers who are still building up their experience. It is always good to get to know new people especially those who know their job. I really appreciate the knowledge that is constantly being given to us by different teachers that I got to work with in our school.
In a school full of young children, as teachers we need to keep on helping each other and working together in order to build up a happier environment, so listening to each other is very important.
After everything there is nothing that brings me joy than seeing the children that used to be in our school during their foundation phase doing their best and excelling in their school work in the school that they are currently in. Seeing them makes me so proud and motivated to keep on doing my best in investing in their bright future.
A Hug……One size fits all! And there is nothing like the hugs that are freely given by the children at Royal Drakensberg Primary School!
Wednesdays are a highlight of my week. This is the day I go to school! I have the privilege of welcoming the children into the library for their weekly choosing of books to take home to read.
The little ones are wide eyed and as they choose books and gaze intently at the bright pictures, I have such hope that they will grow to love reading.
They are so eager to participate in stories, especially counting tales and colour stories. There are the favourite books and as a result some books have pages which are patched with tape,grey and dog-eared. But sought after nevertheless!
I have witnessed such pleasing progress as children who have graduated from the pre-primary to the early grades. Recognition of words and the ability to read and comprehend the stories brings joy to us all.
If these young people have the encouragement from home to read, read, read, the world can be theirs to explore. Sometimes I wish that everyday was “Wednesday” as I experience the hugs and enthusiasm of these precious little people. Their imaginations are stimulated, their enquiring minds are excited! If they learn just one new word, or are exposed to a previously unknown insect, animal, place or historical person or event, then the seed of knowledge will open opportunities for their success.
How grateful we are to all those who have donated books!
Understanding is progress!
Guidance is essential!
Success is the goal!
I finished my time at Royal Drakensberg Primary School (RDPS) in 2009 at the end of grade three with one other boy in my grade, a good friend, Sanele Ngwenya. Royal Drakensberg started with us in 2007, in our grade 1 year. At that time the school only went up to grade three with only sixteen students in total, it wasn’t worth making a senior primary for just two naughty boys. Our parents decided the best thing to do with us was send us off to boarding school in the midlands at Clifton Nottingham Road to do grade four to seven.
As you can imagine it was a bit of a shock to the system being away from home for so long never mind the fact that there was now 48 more kids in your grade to deal with but actually we thrived and it turns out RDP had prepared us perfectly for big school. Once we got used to the 20 other kids in our class, it was a blast. The young and small school really did put us in good stead, with Sanele constantly finishing near the top of the class and although academics wasn’t my strongest point, Zulu was a breeze due to my good base of being one of the only English speaking pupils at RDPS. Most of the kids came from the local community without any English and from very poor beginnings – this school and the teachers really gave each of us a special amount of attention to ensure that we were reaching our full potential and more.
Returning to Royal Drakensberg each year has really touched me to see how far it is coming, with the number of pupils now being in the eighties, another three buildings for class rooms and more staff accommodation etc. Out of the teachers that were there during my time, one remains – Idah Khumalo – and even my most awesome current Zulu teacher’s skill doesn’t compare to Idah’s incredible teaching skills.
Having said that the school has come a long way, there is still a long way to go, with a need for a more developed sports programme and facilities as well as funding for a lot of the pupils who can’t afford the full fees. The school always tries to give financial assistance to as many promising students as possible but it can only go so far with what it’s got. Raising money for the event really makes an impact and will allow more young children to experience the schooling that I was so blessed to have.
“It’s not the mountains we conquer it’s ourselves” Edmund Hillary.
Living and teaching up in the Northern Drakensberg is no easy feat. You are miles away from the towns, social life and general convenience. “You will never” last they said. But here I am a year into my journey and still absolutely loving every second of it. It may be an extremely different life style that I am use to in the city, but I would not change a thing about my year.
Living up in the mountains you learn a lot about yourself at lighting speed. Things that you never thought you were capable of you now succeed in. Why is this? Simply because you have to! In the city you live a sheltered life where your every need is met without you having to worry about how, where, when and why. Things just work. Out here you have to solve your own problems, no electricity? Go check the DB board and if that is not the problem you get on with your day and work around it. You have to plan for everything so that in any situation you are prepared and ready if need be.
Teaching at the Royal Drakensberg Primary school has been an incredible adventure. I have grown beyond measure and I am extremely proud of the achievements I have made throughout the year. Teaching these little children have humbled me immensely and I am grateful to each and every one of the little life’s I have had the pleasure of meeting and teaching. It brings such joy to one when you are able to help grown and develop the minds of tomorrow.
I have made friendships that will last a life time. We have become a very close group of friends that we have all used to help us through our low times. We have enjoyed our time together and look forward to spending more time hiking around these mountains again next year.
Coming up to teach in the berg will live in my memories for a lifetime. It is definitely something that everyone should try their hand at least once. The growth and development as a person spiritually and physically is boundless which you will never find living in the city.
I will be forever grateful to all those that have made my year up here possible and enjoyable.
The Royal Drakensberg Primary School is a place where little humans grow big ideas.
After a year of 3-day-a-week attendance our little Hannah has developed from a sometimes-in-nappies toddler into an adventurous, caring and confident nearly-4-year-old. She has learnt so much from her enthusiastic teachers, excited friends and incredible environment. I am so grateful to Loretta and Megan who started the school and who continue to champion it despite their kids moving on to “big” school. The care they have for the kids and the problem-solving creativity with which they tackle challenges of funding and rural community politics is awe-inspiring.
Love is the driving force behind our school: love for South Africa; love for all her people, and love for our natural environment permeates through all that the school does.
The children of the Royal Drak Primary learn from the very beginning that they are special and important parts of the great web that connects us all to each other and to the earth. They learn about gratitude for their opportunities and their unique environment. They learn about service and generosity from our school’s benefactor Khulu Peter and kindness and affection from their teachers.
The Royal Drak community teaches the wider community by example. The children are aware of how they can care for the environment and how they can improve the world by making small contributions such as picking up a piece of litter or helping their neighbour.
Our community and by extension our country is richer as a result of the work going into the kids of the RDP. They will be game changers! We feel very blessed to be a part of this story.