Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuessday reassured the public that student l.
THERE is a golden era in South African education. It is an era during which, notwithstanding the pernicious effects of apartheid, teaching took place and effective learning was the norm.
It is an era typified by the likes of Jeremiah Monkoe, who passed away aged 94.
"Meneer" Monkoe (it is difficult, despite my years of journalistic practice, not to attach the honorific!) taught at Madibane High School, both at its original campus in Western and when, thanks to apartheid-inspired removals, it moved to its current location in Diepkloof, Soweto.
We called him "Meneer", both in deference to his status as our teacher and, of course, due to the fact that he taught Afrikaans. He bore the title with dignity. He understood and played his role as a teacher and parent.
As with the majority of teachers of his era, Monkoe was a great disciplinarian.
He rarely used the whip but it was the dignified manner in which he engaged us - more often than not spiced with a bit of humour - that made us respect and fear him.
It was the little things that endeared us to Meneer; deadlines for homework and that meant exactly that.
And he kept his side of the bargain - if he said you were to get your marks on Monday, that is exactly what happened.
He taught Afrikaans and to him this was a passion. As with others who taught maths, English and other subjects at the school at the time, it was a lesson at the feet of the master; an encounter to be enjoyed.
Even when the rumbles about the "language of the oppressor" started, those who took Monkoe's class understood the political side of the coin, but enjoyed the richness with which he embellished the subject.
He made the language come alive, and I will bet my mortgage on the fact that all of Monkoe's pupils can, even now, appreciate Afrikaans for what it is, another rich language to add to one's portfolio of learning.
That Monkoe was indispensable as a teacher was proven by the fact that when he retired in 1989 he was recalled to assist at Pace College for a number of years.
He retired for the second time and was once more called to give assistance at another school, Thaba Jabula. Remember, this was post the "language of the oppressor" era.
Those of us who went to school in the 1970s and 1980s can call ourselves privileged to have had the likes of Monkoe as our teacher. That he was an Afrikaans teacher is by the way. He was a teacher, period. He will be fondly remembered.
lMonkoe was buried last Saturday. This obituary was to have appeared in Sowetan last Friday, but due to a technical hitch our obituaries page was not published.