I heard that it was in 2012 that the late Tate Abraham Iyambo announced for primary education to be free come the year after. It was then in 2013 that most of our parents stopped worrying about the start of a new school term.
Being in Grade 4 at the time I didn’t really understand or appreciate what such a great change that was for our country. It was only when I was in Grade 6 when I understood and felt grateful since I don’t know of any other country that offers free primary like ours.
Growing up in a household where mother was the breadwinner and with 3 other elder siblings studying at university was a challenge for her when it came to Money as she had to put all three of us through school and she didn’t even have a nice job that pays nice so now I know how difficult it must have been for her when school starts and how happy she must have been when school holidays came.
I know now how hard she must have worked to pay for our school fees, buy stationery and other things. And even if my other siblings where paying more then me I am glad my school became free at least it gave my mother minus one problem. I remember that I did not always use to pay my school fees on time and most of the time my lunch box only had soft porridge in it that my mother made every morning and it was cold by the time we went for lunch and I would go with oshikundu,sometimes she could not even have N$1.00 to give me for normal clothes day at school and i use to get angry but now i know its because she didn’t have any left overs to waste.
When I would ask her to buy me a toy that I saw at one of my friends or ask for a new uniform she said in Oshiwambo “Nashike Nkelo? iimaliwa ihayi mene komuti” meaning with “what my last born? money does not grow on trees”, and she will just fix my old uniform. Its not that we were poor its just that she had a lot to take care of and with school becoming free she was happy.
I was lucky to even be schooling in Tsumeb so I can just imagine how happy parents in the villages felt when they heard about free primary because some of them have so many kids that they wanted to send to school but could not afford. Most of this children are clever but because of money they where just home taking care of the cattle or their grandparents, collecting firewood and working in the mahangu field. I am really happy that like me they got the chance to go to school for free because we are the future and this really helps our struggling parents.
Today I even feel bad for repeating grade 6 once because it’s like I let education down because it was free. I am now in grade 7 going in grade 8 next year but I wish I could stay in primary school so I won’t have to pay for education. I am just joking, I can’t wait to go to high school and study to become a doctor and I hope by the time I am one our country will also make high school education free for my future children also. Thank you mom for putting me through school and thank you government for helping her, I promise to continue studying hard and make both you and my country proud.