When I met Selina I could instantly pick up on the wisdom and poise surrounding her. Without her having to say a word I could tell she was looking back on an amazing career and a journey which her life had been – significantly influenced by the READ Educational Trust.
An incredible personality with an insatiable hunger for teaching she still teaches today, even though she is officially retired. She “need[s] to make sure our future generation gets taught in the best possible way available to them”, she says when explaining that she is still involved in teacher training.
My aim was to create images which captured this grand personality in a graceful but humble way to complement her writing about life with READ:
“READ and I go a long way back. If I had to share about all my wonderful experiences as a READ ambassador, we would need two editions of the annual report.
I appreciate the development that the READ projects brought to me as an individual and to Mveledzandivho Primary School as a whole. Personal development brought me confidence and an understanding of the things that were happening around me in the Department of Education.
I would like READ to know that they have played a significant role in my life and the lives of African children. African children were given the chance to communicate well through the READ programme. They have managed to face the challenges posed by he world we live in. Most of the learners who have participated in this programme are doing well for themselves. They are assertive and they know what they want out of life.
I wanted to create one image of Selina depicting her resting on a big pile of books, representing her knowledge and wisdom she required over the years. When I asked her she replied “I have A LOT of books, my dear, a lot of books, no problem! All of them Bibles!” How remarkable, I thought.
READ has exposed me to so many things. I remember when READ sent me to Umtata. It was my first time on an aeroplane. I had my green suitcase, which the airline lost and only found after two days. When I arrived at the house of the co-ordinator of the project, I told them about my suitcase. His wife had to lend me a nightdress which was very tight as she was very thin. The following day she lent me a dress. When I came back I told the Mveledzandivho Primary School staff and Grade Six and Seven learners of my experiences. They then decided to write a book called “The lost suitcase”.
I have applied the knowledge that I have gained with READ in church and community matters. People recognised the expertise I have and gave me the opportunity to visit other countries.
The school participated in many programmes offered by READ. This allowed me and the school to share expertise gained over the years. We worked with facilitators from READ. It was challenging, yet motivating to me and the staff of Mveledzandivho Primary School.
When I look back I feel proud that history was made. I received awards and trophies from the READ organisiation, which form part of the history that my children and grandchildren will cherish. Awards like “Principal of the Year 2001” and “Most supportive principal”.
My family will get a glimpse of the life I have lived and shared with you.
Selina Sibiya, retired principal of Mveledzandivho Primary School.
This is one of six documentaries I was commissioned to photograph for the latest annual report of the READ Educational Trust. Each of these person’s lives was touched by READ and their dedication to help people with a hunger for learning, a desire to better their own and their children’s lives through education. These documentaries are witness to this cause.