Fezekile Futhwa 

Revolutionary Relay - Write What You Like


What a disappointment!

I entered college with great determination and expectations. I was now fully aware that academic excellence was a sure way to better things, considering my not so good matric results. I went to college with so much enthusiasm that excellence was the number one priority. Talk about misplaced trust.

It is in February of 1994, the year of our first ever democratic elections where black people would vote for the first time in South Afrika. I have been able to pay the required registration fees and I find myself sitting in a computer laboratory with 29 other strange faces. There is not a single face I know or recognise. It is the first time ever I sit to be addressed by an indian person. My memory of indians is of them trying to sell us something we most likely do not need. That sense of anticipation, it can never fully be described.

The first thing I took note of was Thembelani, Thembelani Dyariwe, this beautiful girl sitting directly behind me! I would sit and look at her reflection on my monitor all the time. And our eyes would lock until I stare elsewhere. Young love, so innocent and pure. Ka nnete bana bana ba ya lebala hore botle bo ya fela, thota e sale! Ho thwe motho kgaba ka botjha ba hao, o se ke wa boja lekemekeme.

Classes started in earnest and it is here that my first disappointment was realised. It turned out that classes were held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday. Monday and Wednesday lectures took only 2 hours while Friday took 3 hours. Being such a college novice I saw this as down right cheating. This for so much money we were paying? My first year tuition, excluding registration, was R3600.00; about the same cost for studying through Technikon South Afrika. Two, our syllabus was not really up to scratch in my uninformed opinion. We did information systems, introduction to programming, concepts of data processing, graphics and end-user computing. Essentially this meant that we were only doing three subjects and two modules. That seemed way too few for my liking.

Qwaqwa Computer College was one of the many private computer colleges in the country. I may add that they made lots of money with black kids. None of these colleges were required to register with the education department back then, so every college pretty much set their own standards. I later learned that the "lectures" were actually not qualified even in the subjects they were teaching. Many of them only had matric, yet they were teaching college students! Enter the venerable Institute of Vocational Studies. I always wondered what the role or purpose of this institute was as almost all private colleges were affiliated to them yet I was yet to meet anyone who represented them. And then there was the Computer Users Council.

All useless societies with fancy names just milking money out of the public.

I so much despised the system of writing exams immediately after completing a module. This meant that there were no longer year end exams as exams would be written as soon as a module was complete. First year was really fun. I was elected to the SRC but declined as I had not intended to continue my studies at the college the following year. Well, my parents had other ideas for me and I spend three years in college.

Second year was an even bigger rob. We did communications, C++, bookkeeping and continued with end-user computing. Essentially we did two subjects and two modules. Bookkeeping was an illusive subject for it was not always available. The number of subjects was clearly suspect but C++ and communications were very interesting subjects. I had this thing with the lecturer that I could never put a finger on. The guy just hated me, and the feeling was happily mutual. He had a problem though, I was his best student and he could not afford to treat me bad. So I happily watched him suffer in silence. I was a best student again in second year.

My problems really started in second year. I could no longer afford to pay for my studies! I was kicked out of college twice during the first semester. Money is indeed a problem. Fortunately, as a life saver, I got a bursary from Sales House that paid all my fees in full. I have never been that happy in my life. Thank you Sales House.

There was a theft at home and the police would not investigate unless someone becomes a witness to the assets stolen! Even though this buffled me, I stood witness to account for the assets stolen. This was a good lesson of how inefficient and incompetent the police and the courts are. The case was never heard, over a period of many months. It kept been postponed without any particular reason. Being a witness, I was expected in court for every appearance, whether the case was to be heard or not. Being a student, this proved unacceptable to me and one day after the umpteenth postponement I raised an objection to the postponement! I explained my situation and how these postponements were affecting me personally. I was told missing class is not their problem, the presiding officer went as far as to tell me that should I fail to show up, they will send a police van to pick me up at school. I was obviously irritated at this point and I told him this was a waste of my valuable time, especially considering that I am a witness who can suddenly choose not to remember anything in particular.

After a heated exchange of words, I burst out of court very irritated. On my way out I inadvertently put on my cap, BIG mistake! The presiding officer shouted and jumped over the counter giving chase. All officers of the court did the same. All police officers nearby did the same. I just could not believe my eyes! I momentarily was suspended in motion and saw all these people chasing me, me of all people. Mind racing, I could run; I chose not to run. Running would have been so much fun for I was sure I could outrun most of these chasers. My concern was being shot at the back. I have never been so humiliated in my life. I was jailed for about 20 minutes while everybody rushed back in court to continue postponing all cases. Half an hour later I was alone in a cell with the presiding officer, he telling me hore ke ya tella(I have insulted him). You know the realisation that your present situation has abosolutely nothing to do with fairness or justice but everything to do with who you are. Standing my ground would certainly have sent me to jail, plus I was not a bit scared of the this chap. I could still fight it later but the idea of me being in jail is not my idea. So I had to profusely apologise before being let go. This affirmed my firm dislike for people working for the justice system of this country.

The police, court officials, magistrates, judges, interpreters and even the lowly clerks.

I lodged a complaint with the justice department shortly after the incident. A year later two investigators paid me a visit to enquire about the incident! Damn you, go to hell. I have even forgotten the incident for you to be coming now.

Third year was evenful. I became the chairman of the SRC and secretary of the college sports committee, all these while I continued to faithfully enjoy my karate. While at the same time having fun dealing with the local office of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. Anyway, I was offered a job at RUC, a division of Murray and Roberts for when I complete my studies. My father worked for the company and he stood firmly that I will not work for the company. He won. I was offered a post as a tutor by the college where I was studying to tutor first year students. I graduated the best student and eagerly looked forward to the future.

Having completed my studies and now looking towards finding a job, I also lost my virginity. I was 20 years old. Besides my virginity, a few other things were supposed to happen. Being uMkwayi, I was supposed ukoluka by now, but with my father gone, it was not to happen. Although my father was not gone officially yet, he was taking his time getting home. Months would go by without seeing him. Remember I did not have money for college starting in second year. He still does not know how I came to complete college and he is proud to have a son who completed college!

Well, up to this point, I have had many relationships. Too many to count. But none were sexual, a reason for which many of the girl friends ended relationships. When it became clear that sex was not on the menu, they became dissappointed and called it quits. I grew up in the norms of Basotho where good morals are expected of children, boys and girls alike. Sex was reserved for married people and I wished to break my virginity in that context too. The time I was ready to start work is also the time we generally get married, but for me that would have been way too early. I wanted to work first before settling down. My virginity was broken non the less. And I remain leqai to this day.

I faced an unknown future filled with lots of doubts.