Boarding school memories
Even though I have mixed memories of boarding school, I might well send my son one day, says Masanda.
Being away from home is not the best of experiences especially if you are young. I went to boarding school for a few years and that was an experience with its highs and lows.

I went to a Catholic boarding school and corporal punishment was the order of the day – the slightest mistake was met with corporal punishment. At the same time, being in a boarding school taught me so much about myself. I learned to survive and also to live with other people and to share. Ours was in the rural areas in the Transkei and there was no electricity or hot water. But in spite of all of that, I reminisce about some of the good times.

It took children a bit of time to adjust to the environment. We had to adapt to things like a change in diet, having to share with so many people in one dormitory, the chores we had to do - not that you had a choice not to do them. You learnt to follow rules.

There were about 97 of us and imagine all the different personalities one had to deal with. We had certain responsibilities and there no cleaners and we did the chores ourselves, it was not a big deal because we found ways of surviving in that environment and learning to enjoy it. Personally I had to learn how to handle my pocket money because we got money at the end of the month.

Strange enough even though the situation was bad some never put our foot down with our parents to say we were not going back the following year. I know that things have improved now and there are better ones to choose from.

Boarding school for my son?

I am not ruling out the idea of sending my son to a boarding school one day. I would like him to be an independent young man and believe that sending him to a boarding school can help. People I know usually send their children to boarding school because they do not have adequate support at home to look after the child or children or whatever the situation may be. As a career man or woman you might be travelling a lot and a boarding school might be the best option.

The downside is that parents tend to feel guilty that they are not there for their children. An ex-schoolmate told me the other day she feels resentment towards her parents for sending her to a boarding school, because her younger siblings were not sent. I am sure there was a good reason behind that decision.

I am grateful for my experience at a boarding school. I would not trade it for anything. Yes, things could have been better but even from that experience I choose to look at the positive.

How was your experience at a boarding school? Would you send your children to one?

Read more by Masanda Peter

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