I was not to be a student at St. Peter’s for long, in actual fact just one term, the reasons are as follows. Remember the bully that extorted money from us young and defenceless standard ones, well he was the reason that I was expelled from the school. The reason was that I was branded a bully and an unruly child. It happened like this:-
One morning I had somehow forgotten to join the line to hand over my protection money, and also managed to avoid the gentleman during school hours. It happened to be cricket practice that afternoon and that is where he caught up with me. He stormed up, almost breathing out fire and demanded his money, which I had already spent at the tuck shop during one of the breaks, there was no way that I could comply with his demands.
He started to threaten me with death, or worse, I was not sure of what was worse than death, but I found out later that death would have been preferable to the stigma of expulsion.
The thing that he had not factored into his calculations was the undeniable fact that I was standing in front of him with a cricket bat in my hands and he was so to say unarmed. When he tried to punch me, I stepped back and executed a classic cross bat shot to his head. Maybe I should have been satisfied with that shot, that would have at least brought me four runs if I had been at the crease, but I followed it up with a straight drive to his face when he hit the ground. It was a classic stroke, shattering his jaw, removing a few teeth and crushing his nose, not to mention that I had already cracked his skull with my first shot.
Well the teachers were called, the bully was removed to hospital, I was marched to the Headmasters office where I was confined and locked in the Headmaster’s toilet. My parents were summoned to appear in front of the judge and to remove the prisoner from the school grounds and to never return.
I was never asked my side of the story as the boy that I had taken out, so to speak, was from one of the most prominent families in Johannesburg and his parents had donated wheelbarrows of cash to the school. My parents lived in fear for the next couple of weeks, waiting for the boy’s parents to sue them, or worse that the boy might die. I do not think there was any chance of him dying, but there was a very real chance that they would be sued.
I do not know how the real story came out, but we received a phone call from the Headmaster and a meeting was arranged for my parents, the boy’s parents, the Headmaster and I, at the home of the boy’s parents. I was not present during the discussions, but the gist of the settlement was that I had to go through to the boy and apologise, we would not be sued and I was definitely not welcome back at the school.
That was my first lesson in the power of money. Over the years the lesson was reaffirmed time and time again, people with vast fortunes are not subject to the same laws that govern the less well off.
There was a case not that long after my expulsion of a Cape Town, millionaire who had killed his wife with a statue, had lied to the police as to the cause of death, and when found guilty had not been hanged as was the usual sentence for a murderer in those days. He was given a few years in prison where he was allowed all the things necessary to run his business from prison including daily visits from his secretary. Well so much for my education at St. Peter’s Preparatory School for Boys. In South Africa today under the new dispensation, that protection has been extended to the so called struggle hero’s.
Lots of Hugs and more,