Tshegofatso Lebeloane, 13, is ready for grade 8 at Midrand High School. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
Tshegofatso Lebeloane, 13, is ready for grade 8 at Midrand High School. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Parents dig deep in pockets for uniforms, stationery as children head back to school

By Nokwanda Ncwane Time of article published Jan 6, 2022

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Pretoria - As children are going back to school, parents have to dig deep in their pockets to buy new uniforms and stationery – often running into thousands of rand.

Many pupils, especially those who will be starting grades 1 and 8 in Gauteng on Wednesday next week, are expected to be in full uniform and to have all the items on their stationery list. This often costs parents an arm and a leg.

Tania Stapelberg, a parent whose daughter will be doing Grade 8 this year, managed to cut down costs when she stopped buying for the sake of buying, she said.

Stapelberg said there was a time when she bought new stationery every year but now she buys as needed and there is no need for new stationery if the previous year’s items are still in good condition.

“I bought new socks and shirts but the blazer, skirts and jersey I was able to buy for a fraction of the price. In total I spent about R800 on her uniform. Her school will supply some stationery.

Tshegofatso Lebeloane (13) is ready for grade 8 at Midrand High School. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

“Gone are the days of stationery buying frenzies – buy what is needed not unnecessary extras.”

Stapelberg said standardised items like shirts and plain jerseys really help and more schools should go for plain colour jerseys and socks without stripes. “All I got from the outfitters was socks and a school tie. The shirts were from a certain retailer.”

Tebogo Lebeloane, another parent whose child, Tshegofatso, will be doing Grade 8 this year, said the cost of sending a child to high school is too expensive.

“My son will be going to a public school and the application fee alone was R4 500. The stationery is more than what we used to buy at primary school and there are a number of things that need to be bought,” she said.

Lebeloane said that uniforms are also costly because they are buying them from the school itself and for the next six weeks the learners will only be wearing the sports uniform, as part of their orientation. This means that parents will also need to buy a formal school uniform for their children.

Tshegofatso, who will be doing Grade 8 this year at Midrand High School, said he was excited to be finally going to high school and looked forward to meeting new people.

“I expect to study hard and do well academically. I also want to try sports (basketball, to be specific) and I’m looking forward to making new friends,” the 13-year-old said.

His favourite subjects are maths, English and science. He said he wants to study towards becoming a mechanical engineer once he finishes matric, because “it looks like a cool and nice-paying job.”

Proudly South African has urged consumers to make buying local their new year resolution as the January wave of back to school spending is increasing sharply. Chief marketing officer, Happy Ngidi, said this was a good time for consumers to join retailers in turning the page on South Africa’s economic discomfort by shifting focus to locally made stationery and school-wear.

Ngidi said it was now time for shoppers to do their part by showing their support for South African products, and directing their money towards local businesses and local jobs in order to invest in a better future for their country.

“This begins with something as simple as back-to-school shopping, which is the perfect time to set an example for our children by showing our national pride and responsibility to job creation and to sustaining jobs,” she said.

Pretoria News

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