White pupil (13) enjoys being at a township school

Dillin du Preez is the first white pupil at Nkowankowa Primary School outside Tzaneen. Teacher Lawrence Shingane with Dillin in the grade 6 classroom.
Dillin du Preez is the first white pupil at Nkowankowa Primary School outside Tzaneen. Teacher Lawrence Shingane with Dillin in the grade 6 classroom.
Image: Peter Ramothwala

Dillin du Preez, 13, says he is happy to attend school in the township after he was enrolled at Nkowankowa Primary School outside Tzaneen in Limpopo.

The grade 6 boy is the first white pupil at the school and he cherishes every moment with his new classmates.

Dillin, who relocated to Tzaneen from Johannesburg with his parents, speaks a bit of Tsonga and he can't wait to master the language.

"It is my third week at the school and during break every learner is following me around. I'm not complaining because it's my opportunity to make new friends and learn Xitsonga," said Dillin lives in Tzaneen. He said he pleaded with his father to place him in one of the township schools because he wanted to expand his knowledge of South African languages.

"Before I asked my father, I spoke to a friend about a possibility of studying in a township school and he referred me to Masungulo Primary School.

"I registered to study at Masungulo but I left for Nkowankowa in my first week as I didn't like it there," he said.

Dillin told Sowetan he was working on improving his Tsonga writing skills.

"I started learning to speak Xitsonga three years ago from the local people who worked at the nearby farms. I'm still struggling to write the language at the moment but very soon I will know how to."

He said his main goal is to learn all SA languages when he finishes matric.

Deputy principal, Joyce Maluleke, said the school was happy to be the first in the area to enrol a white pupil.

"We are very happy that Dillin came to study at our school, he is the first white pupil in the history of the school. He is a fast learner and very respectful."

Maluleke said other pupils were very happy to have Dillin around.

"At any given school break he doesn't get peace because pupils from other classes follow him around and touch him. They are excited because it is rare that they rub shoulders with a white person."

Maluleke said with time other pupils will get used to him.

Dillin's father Robbie du Preez said his son pleaded with him to enrol at a township school and he obliged.

"He is always in a happy mood since he started at his new school and he is enjoying his studies there," he said.

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