Testimony 155

Initially I wasn’t going to write anything but I have found myself going through the eloquent and deeply troubling testimonies of so many others that I felt compelled to share my experiences as well in spite of the very thought of the place predominantly making me feel a sensation of cold dread.

I started KEGS in 2002 and I have to say that these were some of the darkest and soul-destroying years of my life.While I can’t completely absolve myself from blame for my long term absences from the school, reading the testimonies here has helped me to realise that I wasn’t alone in how the school affected me. The environment at KEGS effectively took a secondary education away from me. I often find myself reflecting on the brief time that I spent there and if I would be able to cope with the situation as I am now. I would like to say that I could, however reading these heartfelt accounts has cast aspersions on my judgement. For those reading and potentially having doubts over the validity of some of the claims, I can tell you that there isn’t a single one that I am unable to believe.

The toxic, misogynistic, racist, bullying culture was an unpleasant reality at KEGS from pupils and a very select few members of staff. For example the ‘whites versus ethnics’ sports competitions, transvestite netball, staff handing black pupils javelins with the comment, ‘you should be good with that’ and accusing pupils of cheating based on their ethnicity. I can also say that the ‘rating’ and general objectification of women was also as prevalent as you may have read to believe. I am sorry to say that I have seen first-hand the harassment of both male and female pupils and towards female members of staff.

I was initially told that it was just ‘boys being boys’ and I ended up spending most of my time voluntarily socially and physically isolated for the periods when I was at the school.

However, credit where credit is due. The school staff and friends did work hard to try reintegrate me and I also have some extremely happy memories of the school as well. Not everyone has a miserable time at the school either, I know a lot of people remember their time there fondly.

It taught me a lot about myself as a person and while being one of the most painful periods of my life, it was also the most informative. While this has had a huge impact on the course of my life, I don’t think it has held me back and has taught me the true value of being happy in what you do.

Put bluntly, I honestly don’t think I would have survived KEGS and everyone that did in spite of adverse circumstances has my utmost respect, admiration and sympathy for what your own experience of it was.

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