How an F changed to B
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.”