A life well lived: journey from teacher, principal to author
Ntsimane has dedicated his life to teaching in SA
When Simon Boiki Ntsimane’s doctoral research came to a standstill after his supervisor died, he did not let that derail him. He finished what he started.
Ntsimane, 68, converted his research into a book in 2003.
The former teacher and principal recently published his book, titled Towards Advancing Democracy In SA Schools: A South Africa – America Experience.
The book, published in September, covers issues such as poor infrastructure, corporal punishment, racism, gangsterism, sexual assaults by teachers, and the impact Covid-19 had on schools.
Ntsimane, who lives in Akasia, Pretoria, enrolled for a PhD in education at the University of Pretoria in 1999.
In the same year, Ntsimane was selected as one of 10 students to participate in a study programme in the US for 21 days to gather research for their PhDs.
“I was the only black person who went to America. One night a white lady told me to return to South Africa and write something about my experience here.
“Unfortunately, my supervisor died in 2003 and I had to pause my research. The university took a long time to find a replacement.”
He started writing the book in 1999 and it took him more than 20 years to complete it, having to juggle work and studies.
“There are many wrong things in our schools that are going against democratic ideals. What’s upsetting is that teachers are involved in these wrong things. There are reports of corporal punishment, sexual assault by teachers, dilapidated infrastructure with children falling into pit toilets and lack of water and electricity. Our education is in a crisis,” he said.
During his research, Ntsimane interviewed pupils, teachers and school governing bodies at high schools in the North West as well as experts in the US.
He said his book provides strategies on how officials, teachers and parents can improve conditions at schools.
“It will be difficult to stop all the ills affecting our schools but we can try and strengthen our systems so that we can detect the problems,” he said.
Ntsimane grew up in Phokeng, Rustenburg, where he completed his matric. He did a junior secondary teacher’s course at Hebron College in 1977 and taught in Gauteng, North West and Northern Cape.
In 1995, he published his first book – a Setswana novel titled Poba ka Pelo.
His last job was as a principal at Ikatisong Secondary School in Brits. He has served as an educator for 35 years.
“I wish to open a consulting company where I work as a motivational speaker who goes to schools and gives them strategies on how to overcome the challenges in their environment,” said Ntsimane.