My son's not yet three, and I'm already grappling with the cost of extramural activities. A few weeks into the year, he started coming home with pamphlets. There was Little Dragon Karate, Junior Jive, Monkeynastix, Soccercise Starz, Let's Talk and Computers 4 Kids. Each of these costs between R310 and R450 a term. Who knew kids so young could be involved in so much? At first, I was dismissive: he doesn't need these things, I reckoned. But having read all the pamphlets , I realised he could benefit from every one of them. Before I knew it, I was doing the sums. If he were to participate in all these activities, it would cost a one-off R555 in annual "registration fees" and add 33% to his monthly school fees. Can you afford that? I can't. He already goes for swimming lessons, which cost almost R1000 a term. But swimming's a life skill, and the ability to swim is a prerequisite to acceptance in many primary schools. Wouldn't it be great, I imagined, if he could learn a martial art, pla...

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