A recent visit to Moeng College, my alma mater evoked memories of yore about a hump near Mokungwane village in Tswapong at the popular Mokoba stop. In this article, Mmegi Staff Writer RYDER GABATHUSE reminisces with nostalgia about the hump that entranced many
MOENG COLLEGE: A journey to Moeng College on the back of J5 trucks was an enjoyable experience.
Former Moeng College students still have vivid memories of this Mokungwane/Mokoba stop hump, which left many overwhelmed with a strong feeling of excitement. This experience of many decades ago still remains indelible in the minds of many, even today. The Palapye-Martin’s Drift was still a gravel road before the advent of the current developments. That brought about bituminised roads.
Joseph Gopolang who was a class behind Yours Truly, represented the views of many when he relived the experience of nearly 37 years ago this week. He still has vivid recollections of this experience, which he describes as “gentle and enjoyable”. As the truck went over the hump, it didn’t shake or create any sense of discomfort, but it would rather leave an enjoyable sensation. Truck drivers already knew how students were spellbound to the extent that they would drive carefully upon reaching the spot according the students maximum pleasure. Infact, legend has it that one family from Moeng primary school used to shout at their father, a certain Mafowler who was also the school head teacher at a primary school, ‘to do it, again and again’. That is what probably popularised the spot amongst the students community.
Truck drivers of that time were already familiar with calls for ‘some more’ from the elated students who enjoyed the hump experience.
“The hump was special. It was like it was created deliberately to provide that sensation to travellers along the old Palapye-Martin’s Drift road just before the then popular turn known as 17 miles,” reminisces Gopolang who is a head of department at a local government-owned junior secondary school in Nkange.
The experience he says was akin to that of a swing enjoyed by younger boys and girls in their daily games at the parks, which in the vernacular is known only as khubule. The hump at Mokoba stop was so popular that when the Palapye-Martin’s Drift road was later bituminised, former students across the classes, who used the road post their secondary days, had every reason to bemoan its sudden death as the new developments wiped it away leaving only memories to linger on. The journey to Moeng College was incomplete without experiencing another sensational climb up the Ratholo hill.
After a hard climb, the road would sharply turn to the left and twist to the right
The Moeng first gate has gone down the history books at the school as a place where male Form 1s were ordered to run from the boys’ dormitories and back (quite some distance) as part of the treatment for the Form 1s by the senior boys. As the trucks negotiated their way through the Ratholo hill, before descending into Moeng proper, newcomers to the College (during our times) were literally ordered to cover their faces with their hands for fear that they would be tempted to retrace their steps back and get lost on the way.
That was a ritual that was never missed as senior classes, whenever the trucks moved, ensured they spread out such that they surrounded the new ones as part of the ritual before arrivat at the school.
There was a welcoming stream that sub-divided the classrooms from the dining hall and dormitories. This stream attracted life along its course and it was a marvel to watch God’s creation as birds, animals and plants thrived along this stream. Besides the orchard and the garden at the northern end of this stream, there was a farm at the southern part of the water source that derived its life from the waters of this evergreen water source. During winter season, the stream was merciless, as it exacerbated the cold as it joined forces with winds blowing from the hills bordering the school to make one shiver like the lilies in the stream. The stream has since dried up.
Just besides the stream, there was the generator house where the school power was generated. During evening studies, the generator would often fail to produce power, leaving the noisy students straying across the school premises in the dark.
That was a moment students used to ‘catch up’ with their friends including those of opposite sex. But, sometimes power would expose some as it would return abruptly. Even when schools closed, when the home-go excitement had engulfed students many still looked forward to enjoying the Mokungwane hump, which is now history.