Nbada Sibanda’s short story: That Day`s general knowledge lesson

It was early morning, but already her ship was shaky and unhappy. If anything the first two lessons were a complete mess and nightmare for the science teacher who had just got married to another teacher in another nearby school.

The man kept coming for her in spite of her humblest and loudest pleas and protestations. He had his way of clawing and sneaking into her classroom almost on a daily for no other reason than to echo: I love you.

She prayed and hoped the third lesson of the day would be better, less chaotic and frustrating– being a General Knowledge one. However, the tricky thing about it was that she was covering for someone else who was on maternity leave, and was least prepared to follow her lesson objectives and steps. She thought about an ideal warmer for an engaging start. Her lesson plan had a short mental discussion about the importance of TV.


Teacher: Who can tell me why he or she takes time to view and listen to the

main evening news on TV?

Thulani: I hardly take a conscious move to listen to the news on TV. Every

day you are likely going to watch and listen to one big bore in the

shameless name of our president ,harping on this and that.


Sipho: Yes, Bob is a bore. I`m not surprised that he was a teacher before he

clawed his way into the upper echelons of politics. What a disaster!

Students: Yeah…boring Bob was a teacher!!! (All of them yelling in unison).

Teacher: Ok, ok. What`s his real name?

Thulani: I don`t care what he`s real name is because the bottom line is that

he was a teacher and is a big bore. We all know that. Don`t we?

Sipho: Yes, Bob`s a big bore. I`m not surprised that there`s a lot of chaos


The teacher was bit frustrated, but she tried to steady herself. Let me give it another go. Let me breathe life and direction into this lesson.


Teacher: How do we do our homework assignments in a way that makes us

get good scores or comments?

Sethu: By waiting for the teacher to give us answers.

Thulani: No, we let our parents do the stuff for us. They know better.

Sipho : No, our elder brothers and sisters are more knowledgeable.

Just hand over the work to them. They will do wonders!

Teacher: Our topic today is TV and its advantages for the learner.

What is an advantage, anyone?

Sethu: It`s a part of our topic.

Teacher: How can we keep order in class, Thulani ?

Thulani: By keeping away from class. By simply staying at home. That`s it!

Teacher: What do you call cockroaches in SiNdebele or in any other language?

Sipho: It`s not a good idea to call upon cockroaches, to call them by phone.

They just march, invade your kitchen, home without necessarily

receiving a friendly phone call in any language under the sun. Damn

cockroaches, I`d never call them in any language.

Teacher: Name one nation you don’t` particularly like on any continent.

Students: Exami—Nation! PLEASE don’t start us on that one!

Teacher: One day learners will thank teachers for a job well done. What tense

is that?

Thuani: I’m tense. I’m anxious to see that day. Unfortunately I won’t be

among those learners.

Tough luck !

Sethu: I think it`s called the future impossible!

Teacher: Thulani is coming over to pick up Sethu. Begin the sentence with


Sipho: Sethu, Thulani is coming over to pick you up. By the way teacher,

your husband has just come over to say he loves you! Honestly.

The teacher looked out through a window and, there was her sneaking and tiptoeing man. She could not wait to hear those three little words again.



Sibanda is the author of Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things, The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence, The Way Forward, Sometimes Seasons Come With Unseasonal Harvests, As If They Minded:The Loudness Of Whispers, This Cannot Be Happening :Speaking Truth To Power, The Dangers  Of Child Marriages:Billions Of Dollars Lost In Earnings And Human Capital, The Ndaba Jamela and Collections and Poetry Pharmacy.  Sibanda’s work has received Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. Some of his work has been translated into Serbian.

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