Grade one learners begin their new schooling careers – and it’s so cute!


Pencils are sharpened, school shoes are gleaming and bags are packed for the first day of the new school year. The grade one learners at a Johannesburg school are particularly thrilled to begin their schooling careers. Their parents and the grandparents are just as thrilled. They are the ones who buy the school uniform and pack the lunches and wake up early to prepare the children for the commute to school. The Daily Vox spoke to grade one learners and their relatives about this exciting new journey.

Sihle Nkumane (left), Tokollo Nkumane (middle), Isabel Zikalala (right)

Sihle Nkumane, 29, self-employed, Soweto
I had to wake up at half past four, so I could prepare myself, and prepare him for everything that he has to do today. I was crying, tears of joy. I’m just so happy and excited. He’s growing up.

Isabel Zikalala, 57, bank clerk, Soweto
I’m so happy that my grandson is starting school today, I can’t even explain it. The way I’m so excited about him!

Tokollo Nkumane, 6
I feel fine about my first day of school. I can already spell my name, I’m going to make lots of friends. When I’m older I’m going to work so hard and spend money.

Lerato Ntshangase (left), Refilwe Ramaisa (middle) and Kabelo Ramaisa (right)

Refilwe Ramaisa, 34, personal assistant, Johannesburg CBD
I’m nervous about the first day of school but at the same time I’m excited seeing the attitudes of my niece and daughter. I can see they are not crying and nervous so it’s quite a nice moment. When I leave for work I know they’ll be fine, but as for me I think I’m going to cry.

Lerato Ntshangase, 6
I’m excited for my first day of school, I don’t know why. I’m not going to be naughty. I want to be doctor.

Kabelo Ramaisa, 6
I’m also excited. Today I’m going to play with my friends, meet my teacher. I want to be a teacher.

Oratile Kgaladi (left), Segomotso Kgaladi (middle), Keabetswe Kgaladi (right)

Segomotso Kgaladi, 33, administrator, Soweto
All through December my daughter asked me when school was opening. I had to buy uniforms and stationery. The school holidays were long but we have not been sleeping. Every day Oratile asked what day is today, when am I going to school? I had to be patient. I am excited but not that excited because of the homework.

Keabetswe Kgaladi, 8
I’m happy that my sister will be at school with me, I’m going to be her friend.

Oratile Kgaladi, 6
Today I’m going to write with a pencil, no more colouring, and make friends. When I grow up I’m going to be a dentist and fix teeth.

Sarah Ditlhobolo (right), Botshelo Ditlhobolo (left)

Sarah Ditlhobolo, 30, IT administrator, Carletonville
We got up by four this morning and left home by half past five because we’re all the way from Tembisa. I’m proud and excited at the same time. I cannot believe that I made it this far. I’m very grateful. It was hectic preparing for this day – it needed time, money, love and passion but in the end it was worth it.

Botshelo Ditlhobolo, 6
I’m happy and excited that I have a new school. I’m going to learn and play and one day I’m going to be a doctor.

Olebogeng Chokoe (left) and Khanyisile Chokoe (right)

Khanyisile Chokoe 45, customer services, Soweto
I am over the moon, I’m so happy that she’s now in grade one. I wanted to come with her for the first day of school. Her brother is in grade 10 but Olebogeng is the baby. She was so excited for today, she couldn’t sleep. She told me to wake her up at three in the morning!

Olebogeng Chokoe, 6
I feel so nice to learn at school so I can be a doctor and help the people.

Azukile Chongo (left) and Maxwell Chongo (right)

Maxwell Chongo, 47, operations manager, Rosebank
I feel great. I was here at the school last year when my son started grade R. During the holidays we had to make sure we had all the stationery and school uniforms ready and we were practicing numbers and alphabets. We were making sure that he could write his name.

Azukile Chongo, 6
I’m very excited because I already have friends. I want to be a firefighter when I grow up because I’m a brave boy.

Angel Thauzeni (left), Thenjiwe Thauzeni (right)

Thenjiwe Thauzeni, 30, sales representative, Johannesburg CBD
It’s exciting, it’s making me feel so grown that my child is in grade one. I’m so excited for her, it’s a day I couldn’t wait for. I was up at half past five to prepare breakfast for Angel and to take a taxi. Angel was so excited, she was the one who woke me up this morning.

Angel Thauzeni, 6
It feels nice to be in grade one, I have so many friends. I want to be a doctor because I like doctors.

Good luck grade ones! (You don’t know what’s coming for you).


  1. What “stereotypes about women who wear lipstick”, Shaazia? I am honestly not aware of any, and am therefore super-curious as to what you are referring to.


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