There are bunch of teachers on strike. They want more money or something. I don’t blame them, we all want more money, and sometimes removing your services is the only way to get that. I don’t know if they deserve any more money or if they are just taking a chance. Sometimes in the Third World, that’s what you have to do: take your chances. So good luck to them, that’s not what I want to complain about.
I want to know why they never went on strike while I was at school?
Not once in my entire 12 years of schooling did they ever go on strike. Not once in all of the 48 filthy terms that I had to sit behind a desk did they ever walk off the job, do a mass stay-away or any other type of civil disobedience. Not once! The only strike we ever saw was from the cane (“Lift your tails, boy”… where did they get that line, Dickens?). The only sit-in we ever saw in my 2 304 days of education was after-school detention. And yes, it was without trial. Don’t think I’ve forgotten, Mr Pengelly. You accused me of making that hole in my desk, the big oblong one that said, “HELP DIG PENGELLY’S GRAVE”, and you never gave me a chance to defend myself. And as much as I’d like to have claimed that hole, I didn’t do it. It was Judd from third-form. But I took the fall nonetheless, three stripes from that old prick, Maddams, and a few weeks detention.
And even with all these indiscretions, even with all these slights against our little souls, even with all the dark-age rituals of making us remember the first team’s name, calling the older boys “Sir”, and making us wear thick blazers in the heat of the Durban summer, not once, did they cut us some slack and go strike. I, we, would have loved it. The call from a distressed school Inspector. … “Don’t come to school today, the teachers are rioting and have burnt down the library and most of the old block. The only thing left standing is the refectory.” … Imagine that, Chelsea buns lightly warmed by the charred remains of the 13th edition of Algebra and Trigonometry: Structure and Method explained.
But alas, we never tasted that. The Chelsea buns were stale, the teachers dry and the hours clear cut. We did our time and that was that.