Neontle Mosetle resists going inside a classroom as him mother tries to restrain him during his first day at FF Ribiro Primary School in Mamelodi, Tshwane. Picture: Bongani Shilubane African News Agency (ANA)
When twins Kealeboga and Bafana Mokoto walked into their new school, there were no tears normally associated with first graders and neither was there anxiety.

Instead, so excited was she with starting “big school” that Kealeboga’s mother, Marcia, 39, was scared her daughter was going to damage her new school shoes because of the way she was walking, doing little jumps along the way.

“You will damage your new shoes on the first day, Kea,” Marcia scolded her.

However, the scolding did not even register in Kealeboga’s excited mind. She just kept walking quickly, hurrying her mother along to Rosettenville Primary School in the south of Joburg.

The twins, who turn six next month, were among about 140000 children who started school across Gauteng on Wednesday.

Tears, smiles, joy and celebration were the order of the day.

Grade R teacher Candice De Beer struggles with a child who is kicking and screaming during his first day at Milnerton Primary in Eldorado Parky. 
Timothy Bernard Africa News Agency (ANA)

Taygen Malas, 6, cried hysterically at Milnerton Primary in Eldorado Park: “I don’t wanna go to school. I don’t wanna go to school.”

Teachers had their hands full as they tried to calm children who were upset and get them into their classes.

The atmosphere at Naturena Primary in Joburg was filled with excitement and anxiety as parents saw off their little ones.

Alondwe Mthembu, 5, was thrilled about the journey ahead. “I am happy,” said Alondwe, who can already spell her name.

Speaking on the challenges she faced, Grade 1 teacher Ndivhuwo Makhubu said: “Some of the learners didn’t attend preschool hence they do not know how to read, they don’t know how to write their surnames or names. Some do not know how to count and use common hand gestures to indicate which number they are referring to.”

She said the department was helping by giving them materials and worksheets to assist with lessons.

Mahlatse Rakoma, 5, also a Grade 1 learner at Naturena Primary, was bursting with joy.

“She was going on about how she’s going to get four distinctions,” her mother, Mshi Rakoma, laughed.

The Diepkloof mom said she had chosen Naturena because she had received positive reviews from neighbours.

Daddy Randy Malas tries to reassure his 6-year-old daughter Taygen Malas on her first day of school at Milnerton Primary in Eldorado Park. Timothy Bernard Africa News Agency(ANA)

Gauteng MECs were deployed to various schools to ensure that the work started from day one.

MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo opened a new school in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni.

They conducted a tour at Menzi Primary School and viewed the foundation, intermediate and senior phase blocks.

They walked into the different classes and interacted with Grades R to 7 learners at the school built at a cost of R105million. Trees were also planted.

“My children, I have only one message for you, we can’t have such a beautiful school and you don’t respect your teachers. I don’t want to find the windows broken and gates stolen at the school,” Lesufi implored.