Mr Praiseworth Sizamele ‘Two Boys’ Shandu is an Ohlange Institute alumni. He took his classes during the times of Principal Bophela who later moved to Rhodesia. today Zimbabwe. S.D Ngcobo became the successive principal and he is seen as a hero of the school. He is the one who salvaged the school after it was about to be closed by the department of education at the time. However an inspector by the name of Mr. Lombard had faith that the school can still be rescued; S.D. Ngcobo who was at that time working as a principal at Sobantu High School was appointed as a new principal of Ohlange Institute. According to Mr. Shandu, “S.D.” is amongst the best principals Ohlange Institute has ever had and Mr Shandu explains why:
One day an incident occurred at school when almost all the boys (us) were boycotting, angry, vandilsing the school due to our unsatisfaction with the quality of the food the school provided. We were so angry, weaving sticks and throwing stones all over that we even threatened to beat the girls as they were not marching with us. As we proceeded towards the principals office singing the struggle and violent songs. The principal came out his office and can came directly to us. I have never seen such a brave man. S.D just stood there in front of us and asked us, where are you heading too? We all spoke at the same time with anger but not answering the question “mumbling”. The principal asked again, where are you heading too? We all answered with fear and respect that was not happy with the food were getting from the school. The principal asked us if what we were doing was the right way to do things. He than told us to kneel down, and we all swiftly went down. He than ordered us to go the chapel kneeling in the gravel yard.
When we reached the chapel the building where the first democratic president of the South Africa former leader of the African National Congress (ANC) Mr. Nelson Mandela casted his first democratic vote, the principal showed us the picture of ‘Mafukuzela’. He asked us if we knew about how he built the school. However the most important question he asked us was, “What is more heavier between the spoon of sugar and a (paper) diploma/ certificate?”. The principal than told us that the spoon of sugar can be vital today but not as vital as the qualification in the future”. Those words got us silent. He than showered us with the loads of cold water and told us to sing J.L Dube’s songs. We all sang with passion, we all sang together to the roof and that the day I will never forget.
Listen to the recording: Memories of S D Ngcobo – Shandu
Interview with Sabine Marschall and Xolani Magwaza, at UCC in eNanda, 14 February 2013.