Learning under Lockdown – Runners-up


The stories of our three runners-up (in no particular order)

Name: Thembi Mazula

Grade: 10

My lockdown experience

I remember the day the President announced that schools would close due to this pandemic.

On days when I was tired and just didn’t feel like going to school, I had always wished that there would be something that caused the schools to close.  So I was very excited to go home to Welkom because I had been homesick for almost three months.

But I began to miss the hostel and my brothers and sisters there the day I arrived home.  I told myself I would only be gone for one month.

Then the President declared a nationwide lockdown, which I saw as an opportunity to catch up on all my school work. I would try to understand my work and also use the opportunity to help all my young siblings with their school work as they had been struggling while I was away with no one to help them.

I also got to spend a lot of time with my family during lockdown and we discovered new things about each other after being apart for such a long time.  I must say that felt good while it lasted.

But being stuck under one small roof meant we were soon  tired of each other and the more we watched the news the more anxious we became. We were so used to not spending time together and on focusing on our lives, that being under one roof became more of challenge than I thought it would be.

I really don’t know why I was glad the lockdown had been declared because it’s actually becoming the worst thing ever.  It has made me lazy to exercise and I am eating a lot and gaining weight. I also felt the spirit I had to study literally fade away with the uncertainty over whether schools will open again or not.  This really breaks my heart.

I never thought I’d say this but I really miss being around other learners and being at school.

I would say lockdown has really taught me to honour and appreciate the time that we spend with our loved ones.  I think this must be one of the reasons why this COVID-19 has occurred – to remind us to be grateful for everything we have.

I promise to never take anything for granted ever again.

I am most grateful that I myself and my family are still alive and healthy and we just keep making the best out of each moment.

Thembi Mazula and family


Name:  Luyanda Dlamini

Grade 11

Beside the rising number of infections and deaths, the most terrible experience I am facing during lockdown is studying on my own, not sure whether what I’m writing is correct.

Having to study Nautical Science, one of my favourite subjects, without the Nautical Almanac is very challenging as there is no qualified teacher to help explain and correct what I am learning.

Lockdown has also forced me to miss the Physical Science experiments that we do as part of the practical assessments. I have also worried about the matrics who have been big sisters and brothers to me and how their final academic school year has been sabotaged by this virus.

Lockdown has taught me many lessons, mainly about being a good citizen and an innovative learner.

Apart from gaining a new skill – which is self-studying every subject – I have learnt to be something of a teacher. It started off by me helping a few Lawhill grade 10 learners with maths and science and then I ended up opening a WhatsApp group where I help all of them simultaneously. I have really enjoyed working with them, as we’re lifting each other as we rise.

It has taught me to be a problem-solver and that is why I am currently researching an App that I’m designing to help learners learn in a more fun way. I have also learnt to sew, as I had to make a mask for myself.

Despite the negative things, I have experienced the best things during lockdown as I have spent quality time with my family and have had my uncle who is a Lawhill past student help me with my work.

One of the best things I have gotten from the lockdown is the warm love that the Lawhill management and my bursary sponsor have shown. They have not only been my teachers and sponsors, but parents to me, even when I am not at Lawhill.  They are constantly checking up on us and telling us to stay safe and keep studying. They have given me hope and faith that this dark cloud shall pass.

Luyanda Dlamini and family
Luyanda Dlamini and family

Name: Ntuthuko Shange

Grade: 10

Learning in LOCKDOWN.

During the Covid-19 pandemic more than half of the world was under lockdown to prevent the spread of the disease. Lockdown is a prison-like protocol that prevents people, information or even cargo from leaving an area.

As we were part of the lockdown, schools had to close and the only option we were left with was online learning. Online learning was new to some of us and learning without a teacher there to help you, made it even worse.

Many found it difficult to study alone but it wasn’t that hard for me as I usually work alone and don’t like working in groups. And always using my laptop was one of the things I enjoyed the most about learning in lockdown.

Being on my laptop makes my heart melt.

I enjoyed not having to write notes down as they were sent online and I could study them on my laptop without having to write them down. I also liked getting and submitting our projects online without having to do a presentation in front of the class.  I am a shy person so standing in front of the class is one of the thing I really don’t like.

Working on a laptop meant I could also fix any mistakes in my project by simply erasing and returning the document back to the teacher within the hour, rather than having to spend time doing the whole thing over.

But there is another bad side to lockdown.

I had just received a bursary to be part of the STS Lawhill Maritime Centre and the arrival of this pandemic has been disappointing as we have not been able to do the practical activities planned for Term 2.

Add to this the fact that our sponsors are suffering during this lockdown. This gives me emotional stress because now I don’t know whether they will still be able to fund us or whether they will have to withdraw their support.  Our future careers really depend on them.

I have also struggled with maths.  I’m usually good at maths but I struggled during lockdown.  Although I was able to do all the sums given to us, inside me I kept having a feeling that I couldn’t do it. My parents kept on encouraging me and helping me but I continued to struggle and I had to remind myself that if I wanted to be successful, I had to find a way, not an excuse.

I also lacked internal motivation for a complex subject like marine science, which was giving me too much pressure.

But it always seems impossible until its done and I have now learnt that internal motivation is more important than external motivation, that education is the key to success and that during this pandemic, we all need to stay united because “people united can never be defeated” (Masoja Msizi).


N Shange-Photo
Nthuthuko Shange and family