When Dihan Du Toit arrived at King Edward VII School at the beginning of the year he was the only Afrikaans-speaking boy in his class, which was very strange at first, and he struggled in a few of his subjects because the terminology was strange. But now, as the second term of his first year draws to a close, it’s all going a lot better and he is certain that he made the right choice in deciding to come to the school.
“My classmates were all eager to help me with the language, and I go to extra lessons in the subjects that I was battling in, and it’s going well now,” he says. And he has had no problems with fitting in. “There is some teasing that goes on, but it’s never nasty, and I tease them right back, now I’ve made some good friends and I am enjoying coming to school.”
Being part of the under-14A hockey team has also helped. Dihan went to Laerskool Edleen in Kempton Park and ended up at KES because he was spotted playing hockey for the Easterns under-13 team and offered the chance to come here.
“I was invited to play in trials at the school, and then asked to apply. I was accepted and it was the best thing for me, hockey and school-wise,” he said. “Our hockey team got to play most of the top teams in the country and we only lost twice – to Maritzburg College and Jeppe – and I am part of the final group from which the Southern Gauteng under-14 team will be chosen. I wouldn’t have got that if I went to a high school in Kempton.”
Dihan is very impressed by the traditions, the discipline and the respect that he finds at the school. “You don’t get that so much in the Afrikaans schools, and I think they are important things that will help you in life,” he said.
“There is also support from everyone for everyone. Even us, as the under-14 hockey boys get a crowd to support us when we play and we, in turn, are expected to support the other teams. And the war cry practices on Fridays are special. They make us all feel like we are part of something big. It’s quite emotional.”
It’s been hard work, but it’s been worth it, he said. “Learning to study in English is going to pay off when I get to University, and growing up in an environment like KES is going to help me cope better in the world beyond school.”
Dihan DuToit is a living example of the diversity found at KES. Different people, but one unified school.