Today my family in Genadendal will lay to rest the remains of my uncle Pieter van Rensburg – my late father’s youngest brother.
The most educated man in our family and the first one to graduate both from high school and as a brilliant teacher from the Teacher’s Training College in Oudtshoorn during the 60’s, my dad felt if there was someone who could make a lasting impression on his own firstborn, it would be uncle Pieter. So I was sent off to stay with him during two of my primary school years on a farm school called, Molteno, on the north side of the Hottentots Holland mountains that kept all the nice warm weather on the south side away from us.
There was something though that even those mountains could not keep away from me and it was the opportunity to walk next to a disciplinarian who gave me an education in the classroom and an even greater one outside of it. Two of those ‘outside’ opportunities that the smart people came to classify as “informal learning”, were how to play tennis and how to type. To this day, I practice both and one of them made it possible to enter these words on this device called a computer.
Those who know what I do within education in South Africa today, will understand that there is a clear connection between the investment of one unselfish man in the mid-70’s and the impact by Grace of a ‘snotneus klonkie’ from the hostile ‘hoekies’ of the Cape Flats.
For the rest of you who do not know what ‘snotneus klonkie’ or ‘hoekies’ means, or who do not know where the Hottentots Holland mountains are, it is time to start leaning on the skills that were imparted to you by the Uncle Pieter in your life.