How an F changed to B

Sunday Observer - - NEWS - Ca­reer Ad­mits

Get­ting an F in SiSwati was one of the defin­ing mo­ments which caused Dr Gce­bek­ile Dlamini to have am­bi­tion to do bet­ter in high school.

She started her pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion at Mananga and En­jab­ul­weni Pri­mary Schools. She later went to St Micheal’s Pri­mary and High Schools.

“Hon­estly, I was a very play­ful child in pri­mary school. I was av­er­age.”

Un­like chil­dren in pri­mary school to­day, she doesn’t re­mem­ber think­ing about ca­reer choices.

“I think I went to school be­cause of my par­ents. If I had a choice, I would play.”

The Grade Seven re­sults were the turn­ing point for her. She passed with a merit, but was shocked by her dis­mal re­sults in Siswati.

“In the midst of A’s and B’s I got an F in Siswati. I knew then that high school had to be dif­fer­ent. I was go­ing to think about ca­reer choice at that point.” With this re­solve, she got a B in her O’lev­els.

Re­count­ing her high school ex­pe­ri­ences, she de­scribes her time at St Michael’s as where she met mul­ti­ple per­son­al­i­ties, ex­pe­ri­enced group dy­nam­ics, ado­les­cence, cu­rios­ity, doc­trine and author­ity; “All girls’ high schools are raw and unadul­ter­ated. Board­ing school was en­joy­able but in­tense.”

With her sound up­bring­ing, she was able to swim, in­stead of sink in the en­vi­ron­ment which shaped her char­ac­ter and honed life skills.

She was selected head girl at the end of Form Four; “It’s a process that re­sem­bles Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. Pupils were al­ways highly emo­tive about it. It was a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity, bal­anc­ing school pol­icy and pupil needs whilst ex­celling aca­dem­i­cally. I re­mem­ber though that, I had a great team of pre­fects.”

Ret­ro­spec­tively, she ad­mits that the big­gest lessons she learnt were that in­tegrity is peace­ful, that lead­er­ship is hu­mane author­ity and that no mat­ter how dif­fer­ent hu­man be­ings are, they all have var­i­ous points of con­ver­gence.

The school also of­fered her the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore faith and be­lief sys­tems.

“I believe in God. Over the years, that be­lief has pro­gressed into per­sonal ac­counts of grace, favour, the mag­ni­tude and pro­found­ness of God.”

She ad­mits that her par­ents were, how­ever, not the type to be ob­sessed nor pres­sure her to get good grades. “In hind­sight, my par­ents just wanted us to get an ed­u­ca­tion.”

To en­sure this hap­pened, her mother would have tea with the head­mas­ter or the teach­ers just to mon­i­tor her progress.

“If you crossed the teach­ers, she would tell them to ex­er­cise school pol­icy on you.”

This paid off be­cause two of her hold MA de­grees. five si­b­lings

Hex­am­ple. Dr Gce­bek­ile Dlamini’s for­ma­tive years were spent in­ter­mit­tently be­tween Manzini and Vu­vu­lane un­til she was 14, then her fam­ily moved to Malindza, their cur­rent res­i­dence. She was raised by both par­ents un­til her fa­ther’s pass­ing in 2004. She says her fa­ther was a pa­tient, soft spo­ken and stern, whereas her mother was the com­plete op­po­site. “She was out­spo­ken, feisty, hard­work­ing, per­sis­tent, re­silient and the most ‘step up­ping’ per­son I know. They say I take up af­ter her.” With both par­ents com­ing from hum­ble but se­cure back­grounds, this be­came the foun­da­tion of her own up­bring­ing.

“Com­plet­ing high school for them was a mas­sive achieve­ment. In fact, my fa­ther started pri­mary school at 13 or 14 years and held on un­til he com­pleted high school in his 20s.”

She sup­posed that her par­ents de­cided to break the cy­cle for their chil­dren and as a re­sult ed­u­ca­tion was at the core of their up­bring­ing. She re­calls how her par­ents en­sured to pro­vide ev­ery­thing nec­es­sary for not only a sound home but a good ed­u­ca­tion as well. “No frills, no lux­u­ries. For Christ­mas, in­stead of fancy presents we would get new school shoes and sta­tionery,” she says, adding how her mother was very strict. “I think God blessed her with great chil­dren, be­cause we never saw the need for re­bel­lion.”

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