The prep master that evening, when I had bunked to do the grocery shopping and political science 101, was our PT (Physical Training) and Geography master. We were not on cordial terms, either.
So when he called my name at prep that evening, he asked me to stand up. This prevented any of my friends from saying ‘present’ on my behalf.
Next day, in Geogo class, he asked me where I was the night before. I told him the truth, adding that I believed it was important for students to express their political ideologies freely.
He expressed the idealogy that my ass was grass, and sent me to my old haunt, the headmaster’s office. The way he did it involved a certain look of relish and spite, which was fairly typical of this pedant.
At the office, good old jowl-face gave me six, and then asked me to leave his school, if not right now, then three seconds later. I must say I was a bit taken aback, as my parents were probably going to lynch me.
When I got back to class, it was the next class, Afrikaans, in a different classroom. The guys whispered to me, wanting to know what went down.
When I said the word ‘expelled’ the class erupted with loud whispers. Our Afrikaans teacher stopped, and wanted to know what had happened.
When I told him, he slammed down his board duster, and started storming out of the class to go and have it out with the headmaster.
I ran to stop him, and told him it wasn’t worth it. It took some persuasion, as he was livid, and wanted to fight it. He was the man who had seen me at the town hall, and looked the other way.
Now here was a slight man, quiet, intellectual, gay, and with a voice that had never broken properly. And he was ready to fight like hell for me. I will never, ever forget that.
And the man that sold me to the headmaster was a tall, well-built hetero jock who was, on record, jailed for rape some years after I left school.
So when I’m tempted to discriminate, as I often am, I try to remember that day, where a gentle man with big values, who had probably had his share of prejudice, made my life better.