I matriculated from Belfast High School (BHS) in what is now the local municipality of eMakhazeni in Nkangala district, in Mpumalanga, in 1973. I was invited to be the guest speaker at a function on May 13 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 matric class. I accepted the invitation with pride and enthusiasm. My school career can hardly be described as illustrious, other than perhaps for being a trumpet player in the cadet band which came first in South Africa in 1971. I was always in trouble and only did selectively well in subjects for which I had a natural aptitude. BHS was a dual-medium, co-education (English and Afrikaans, boys and girls) government high school. Pupils were gathered mainly from the local farming community but included a few strays from as far away as Johannesburg and Mozambique. For those who qualified, the fees were minimal — my entire five years of high school education, including full board and lodging, cost less than R1,000.BHS was an ordinary schoo...

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