My School Life in a Convent


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I am Dorothy but also known as Tinky and Hopsing. Today at the age of eighty I look back into the far past and share with my special friend Mauro some of my life experiences. I could possibly write a book but it would take a long time.

I was eight years old when my father drowned after a boat accident in the Umzimvubu river in the Transkei.

As school was a hundred miles away from the farm where we lived, my sisters and I were sent to a convent in Kokstad. I hated being closed in by high fences and locked gates. My two sisters seemed quite content though. Anyway after a few years I decided to make the best of it.

I decided to creep into the orchard and climb over the fence. Climbing up the fruit trees and jumping over the fence into the road was easy. I asked my little friend next door to lend me his bicycle and then I went riding through town and to the railway station only to find that that the station master had called the convent and explained that a girl in school uniform was riding there.

Photo copyright ©

Photo copyright ©

I was caught by a nun and taken back and punished by being locked in a cupboard for the night. I thought it was hilarious and giggled all night. The next day I behaved, only to jump the fence again later and go to a chemist to buy vicks and bubble gum. The same nun caught me again. I had to scrub the full length of the verandas leading to the school hall. It was actually better than hours in the classroom.

Another time I was locked in a broom cupboard for a night. I dressed a mop with yellow dust cloths to look like a doll. When the nun opened the door to let me out, I held it up in front of me and she got such a fright she almost fell backwards. I was pulled around by my long plaits to the bathroom. Ha ha.

Some days later my friends and I decided to have a midnight feast under my bed. I took the eats from the tuck shop which were given to me from home. There were sweets, biscuits and other delicious things.

At midnight we sat under my bed and started eating when a nun suddenly appeared and caught us red handed. We were all punished and locked into the suitcase cellar for the rest of the night and the following day. We had lots of fun jumping from one suitcase to another for a while. Then we decided to try and sleep in a large trunk which was empty.

The punishment never deterred us from trying more tricks.

This is my first real story and I hope to remember and share many more of my life experiences.


  1. Ouma, your childhood stories are riviting. You must also write about how you met Oupa.

  2. Onti Plonky, please write regularly about your life in the Convent with Onti Bubbles & Mom, it really is very precious to read ! Well done !

  3. Hopsing, you are always full of surprises! Well done and thanks for sharing your experience with us. Write soon again!!!

  4. Ont Tinky! What wonderful stories keep on writing, its fascinating!

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