In what seems to be a surprising reversal, some parents had difficulty parting with their children as they started their first day in Grade 1 yesterday.
It used to be the children who cried and refused to go to class in the first week of school but the majority seemed ready for the new journey that will last for 12 years.
Credit has to go to the early learning centres and crèches that have successfully prepared the children and made them somewhat independent at very tender ages.
At schools in Mahikeng, parents could be seen hugging their little boys and girls as they dropped them off at school gates and classrooms.
North West municipality 405 mayor Kgotso Khumalo was one of the prominent people in the province caught up in the bustle as he dropped off his six-year-old daughter, Lusanda, at her new class.
The little girl is starting Grade 1 at Potchestroom Central Primary School.
“I feel very good and emotional at the same time because some of us never had the opportunity to have our parents accompany us to school. We were on our own and it is exciting having this privilege to drop her off and see that she is fine,” Khumalo said.
He said emotions were also running high as sending the child to school meant she was starting a new life on her own.
“It is just like sending your child to university because you know from there, they are on their own so it is a mixture of emotions and excitement at the same time,” Khumalo said.
Like other parents, Khumalo said his daughter looked forward to her first day at school and was ready way before time.
“As a parent, I appreciate the work done by her early learning centre teachers at Little Saints. They thoroughly prepared her and at home we did not do much to tell her that she was going to school, she has been looking forward to it since last year.
“Sure enough, Lusanda woke up very early and was prepared with all her stationery by 6am,” he said.
Khumalo said education was the new site of struggle for the young generation and parents had a big role to play in supporting their children.
“We spent a lot of time on the streets and in the trenches to free this country from oppression but our children are demonstrating that education is the new revolution. Because they now go to schools without seeing the overt racism we suffered, they have their brains as their only weapons and should be supported to reach their full potential.”
The mayor promised he would allocate time to help with homework and urged other parents to do the same so the children who started Grade 1 yesterday would all cope with the change.