A school day in South Africa

Looking to the wider world with Simakele “Smiley” Ngxabazi, aged 14, a year nine student from the Langa township in Cape Town, South Africa


What school do you attend?

I go to Belgravia High School in Athlone, a district of Cape Town. There are no good schools where we live, so my mother decided to send me here.

How big is your school? How many children are there in your class?

The school has 1,150 students, and in my class there are 45 children.

Do you have to wear school uniform?

Yes, but on Friday you can also wear normal clothes if you pay a bit towards the class fund.

How long does it take you to get to school?

The journey by car is only 15 minutes. School begins at 8 a.m., but I share a taxi that picks up others on the way, so I have to be ready by 6.30 a.m. And the taxi is late quite often.

Do you learn foreign languages at school?

Lessons are in English and we study Afrikaans as a foreign language. At home I only speak Xhosa, my native language.

What is your favourite subject?

I like maths the most.

And which subject do you like least?

Afrikaans. I find it too difficult.

Do you use computers at school?

Not in our year group, but we do have some for the older children.

What do you do after school?

I play football, or there is something we call gumboot dancing – a traditional dance wearing wellingtons. My dancing crew is called Happy Feet, and we sometimes perform in public.

What would you like to do later in life?

I want to become a doctor so that I can help other people.

Read now:

A school day in Rwanda

Looking to the wider world with: Pauline Bakashaza, 19 years old, Grade 12 , from Kigali, Rwanda