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It’s never too late

SX 05In 2012 at the ripe age of 67 years, Matšumunyane surprised his community by enrolling for Standard 7 at Maputsoe Community Primary School. Our reporter, Mohau Serabele, on Wednesday checked on this unique father-of-three and discovered his quest for knowledge as remains strong as ever  


At 69, most people have either already given up on life or spend their days contemplating a gloomy future characterised by helplessness due to old-age. The more optimistic, however, enjoy this phase of their lives as they finally relax after years of employment and all the hassles involved in raising a family.

However, this is not the case for Tsereane Matšumunyane of Maputsoe Ha Mathata, who in 2012 at 67 years of age, decided to enrol for Standard 7 at Maputsoe Community Primary School. The registration not only made Matšumunyane, popularly known in his community as Ntate 5, the oldest ever student to be enrolled at the school but also a laughing stock in certain sections of society.

When this reporter visited his household on Wednesday, the sprightly Matšumunyane was watering his small garden, and immediately broke into his trademark grin as we shook hands.

“As soon as I am done here, I am going back to my books. I need to study harder this year,” he beamed.

Back in March 2012, Matšumunyane decided to go back to school and sat for the  Primary School Leaving Examination the same year, which he passed with a Third Class. Two years later, Matšumunyane is looking forward to writing his Junior Certificate examinations and does not want to stop until he earns his law degree.

He chuckles as he recalls the bittersweet memories: “I remember the criticism I received from my friends; they would scorn me saying I found it easy to waste my life and time playing with primary schoolchildren.

“They were all shocked when they heard that I had passed my examination, and I will surprise them again by passing my JC, and then COSC, and degree.”

Matšumunyane explained the reason why he decided to go back to school was he just wanted to learn how to read and write in the English language.

“I always found it embarrassing that I could not speak or write the English language, so I decided to do something about it. I am happy that I made that decision because I am slowly but surely, fulfilling my dream.”

Matšumunyane said after Standard 7, he decided to continue his studies with the Lesotho Distance Teaching Centre (LDTC).

“I am in my second year of study now and will be writing Junior Certificate exams in 2015. I find it more convenient to study through distance-learning because I don’t have much time to go to school every day. I have family commitments, which I have to attend daily. Again, the training I received from my teachers at primary school has helped keep me motivated so that I can work on my own,” he explained.

Matšumunyane further said what has also given him the strength to persist with his studies is the support he is getting from his wife.

“My wife keeps encouraging me to go on with my studies. Her words to me always bring up the desire to learn more.”

Although he is determined to succeed, Matšumunyane noted there are challenges in his journey.

“I struggle a lot with my mathematics. The Sesotho grammar section also gives me a tough time. I sometimes struggle to understand the language, despite the fact that I speak it daily.

“However, I am lucky to have lots of neighbours who are fulltime teachers and most of them are always ready to assist me when I get stuck.”

On his future, Matšumunyane said: “I want to go all the way. I have actually developed a desire to go further and study law, and if everything goes according to plan, one day, I will be reading great books of law.”



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