A matric pupil explained in a touching letter how Afrikaans changed his life and brought him closer to God.
Lebo Ndlovu, a learner at Hoërskool Middelburg, is an Afrikaans-speaking black pupil whose life was changed by the language that is synonymous with white people.
The letter was shared in the Middelburg Observer and Briefly.co.za translated it into English.
The letter read:
"Let us bind each other with words, with the bridge and glue of our beautiful languages, as well as the bridge and glue of Afrikaans. Let us make Afrikaans a language of reconciliation, of peace and freedom" - Mathews Phosa.
These are the words that greet me everyday in the Afrikaans class - my teacher painted it on the class' front wall. After a year, Mathews Phosa's words grew like moss on my brain. It reminded me of Laurika Raunch's song where she sings about the people close to her heart that grew on her like 'moss blankets.' In my case, it was Afrikaans that grew on me.
My name is Lebo Ndlovu. As a nine-year-old son, I found a home at the Kosmos children's home in Kriel. I was not an orphan but my mother was a single parent and her illness made it impossible for her to care for me. It was at the orphanage that my roads crosses with Kiewier - my childhood friend, who taught me to speak Afrikaans and to give my heart to the Lord.
As a small boy I used to sit with Kiewiet's Afrikaans bible and he would try to read out of the Zulu bible I received from the orphanage. With Kiewiet I learned to laugh at life with an open mouth - something I could not do until then because of my unfavourable home situation.
In 2011, I became a Middelburger when I became part of the Care Village's orphanage family. Until then I believed my mother threw me away. However, as I got older I began searching for a reason. I then realised I never saw my mother laughing and all that I could remember of her was the pain in her eyes and the bruises on her body.
I found peace in the knowledge that everything happens for a reason. With my mom I would never have grown in my faith in Jesus Christ. Now, life gave me the opportunity to give my heart to the Lord. I laugh always because I believe that God lives within me and that He'll handle every problem with me.
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My life in the orphanage taught me that I don't have to be worried about anything and that I should pray with a grateful heart for everything I have. Another precious lesson I learned is that money is nothing, but time is priceless.
As a Hoërskool Middelburg matric pupil, my message is that Afrikaans grew on me and it brought me to God. The Mathews Phosa words I see everyday obtained full meaning in my life. Here at Hoërskool Middelburg it is a language of reconciliation where our learners respect each other regardless of cultural borders.
In my personal life it brought me peace with my past and I have the ability to put a smile on other people's faces, because I am truly free.
Refentse summed up how I feel about Afrikaans with the following words:
"I am a big fan of Afrikaans because without it I wouldn't know who I am."
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