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Experience, my teacher!

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I consider myself privileged to be South African yet at times I often find myself dancing between loving and hating my new Government. It all came with promises of a new beginning and a better tomorrow. A lot has changed and yet some things still remain the same and everyday still proves the saying that “Education is the key to success; however we often times have to dig for this key like gold. According to my own understanding, education is not only acquired in a classroom setup but also through being awarded opportunities such as learnerships, internships or even a volunteering position in an Organization. Education is defined as the act or process of imparting or acquiring knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

Growing up in a well off family had its own perks, I was able to start school on time and I can still remember my primary school years vividly like it was only yesterday. School was made to feel like home, I guess it was somehow fun and tricky only uncomfortable with all the spanking that the teachers used to frequently communicate their frustrations with us. I remember one humiliating incidence, whilst I was in grade 1 and couldn’t put together a sentence in a wording board and my class teacher spanked me so hard that my days at school where now made to feel like I was in a foreign country.

I did pretty well at school; maybe I should thank God for passing every grade. Whilst I watched my peers failing and repeating grades with humiliation. But things quickly changed when my body started developing and back home my parents were constantly fighting and where on an edge of a divorce. As young girls turning into adolescents we lacked mentors and often used television to relate with the rest of the world. I don’t really know why but we were always made to think that pretty was better than smart. Rather be conscious of how you look because in this world image is everything.

But that kind of mentality only puts a lifetime invisible wall between you and your goals in life. In middle school, I was an unhappy child. Overweight with no boyfriend, now my attention was always on some weight loss plan (one which I never found until later) again in school we only had guidance teachers and no mentor to affirm our uniqueness and to share our experiences with. This lack of mentors made me to grow so self conscious that my attention withered away from my studies.

High school years were the worst; I rebelled and experimented with any bad habit that I could think of. Hanging out with the boys, smoking weed and missing classes. I think there is a huge gap between students and teachers and this drifts them away and puts a blurred vision of the purpose of education.

This also plays a major role in women staying in abusive relationships and not being able to negotiate safer sex (increasing the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate) because of their lack of confidence and inability to provide for themselves. Granting their male counterparts of the power to use and abuse them because of their weak positions in relationships. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming anyone for my “confusion years” in school because of the lack of support especially for female students who end up thinking that beauty is better than education.

I can’t say that I have overcome the barriers of my own mental slavery but I choose to celebrate my achievements. Like many other women, I choose to carve my own education path through experimental learning and using valuable resources like the internet to gain further education and to explore my creative abilities. It is through platforms like World Pulse that we begin to rediscover ourselves and harness our skills. And I have been using my life experiences as a syllabus to educate young girls and women to know that they too can rise against any odds even their own way of thinking.

My vision is to establish a movement that will link girls with mentors who will help shape their dreams into reality. I think that we can all do that from where we are by adopting at least one girl and mentor them through their challenging years of school.Lets all starting acting as stars and shed the light on young girls and women and usher them into a brighter future.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

Stacey Rozen's picture

Wise words

Yebo, Zandi! Your honesty in sharing your experiences is commendable. You're so right - being open to learning in every moment - either online or through taking risks with new life experiences is a better teacher than any other.

Continue to sprinkle your princess sparkle!

Creatively,
Stacey

PrincessZar's picture

Ngiyabonga!

Yebo Stacey, thank you for taking your time to read through the article. I honesty believe that honesty builds us and its only through sharing with the young girls and women that we will truly fulfill the saying that "Indhlela ibuzwa ku abadala" Wisdom is found in those who have traveled the path before us.

Keep your fire for life burning!

Keep your fire burning!

Stacey Rozen's picture

Uyamukelwa

I love that saying! Thanks for teaching me it :)

Creatively,
Stacey

Myrthe's picture

Thank you!

Thank you for sharing your personal story, Zandi! You are so right that experience and life are the best teachers. I am sure that with your experiences and wisdom you make a great mentor for girls. I wish you all the best in realizing your idea of a mentoring structure for girls!

Beverly Rose's picture

Beauty and brains

Thank you for this story, Zandi. You have a beautiful style of writing. I believe that each of us (hopefully the wise and loving) has a responsibility to mentor the younger ones. And, yes, - you will, indeed, make an incredible mentor for other girls. And let us teach the young girls that they can (and do) possess both beauty and brains.

In peace,
Beverly

Aminah's picture

celebrating our achievements

Your commitment, your vision to be the strength for others are admirable.

I enjoyed reading your words and I wish you all the best on this journey through VOF.

Salaam
Aminah

PrincessZar's picture

Salaam

Hi Aminah

Thank you again for your beautiful words and encouragement.

I will also like to wish a beautiful journey through VOF.

Keep dancing to the rhythm of your own heart beat!

Keep your fire burning!

wowitsjackie's picture

Thank you for your honesty.

Thank you for your honesty. Please keep writing and I hope you can serve as a mentor to the young girls you encounter! I'm sure many would benefit from your attitude of taking advantage of the teachable moments and learning opportunities that come your way each day.

Thanks,

Jackie

turtledove100's picture

you're an inspiration!

Thank you for your very personal and inspiring story. I love your idea about all of us mentoring girls through the challenging years of school; positive role models are an essential way to overcome obstacles and reach goals we never thought we could.

I totally agree with you in your ideas that society is much too focused on beauty and not enough on brains and what's inside each of us. Keep raising your voice. I look forward to hearing more about your mentorship program!

Kind regards,
Debbie

"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach" (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author and poet)

PrincessZar's picture

Thank you!

Molo Debbie ( Good morning in Xhosa), Thank you for your encouraging words.

Have a beautiful week.

Princess Zar!

Keep your fire burning!

Hi Zandi,

Your story tells of your own experience in a way that is both very personal and ties in to the bigger issues faced by many young women. Thank you for sharing with such creativity and honesty. I really enjoyed hearing your unique voice. Your attitude of learning from life in every way that you can is one we can all emulate.

Nearly fifteen years ago, I spent nearly a year in South Africa doing research, and I was deeply impressed by the vitality of people who had fought for so long, and continued to fight to improve their society. When I hear your voice, I am heartened because that spirit is clearly alive and well in you. I loved your line about dancing between loving and hating the government - that honesty is a strength.

Your idea to mentor younger women is a great one, and I wish you every success on the path ahead. best wishes,
Anais

PrincessZar's picture

Thank you!

Oh wow Anias, thank you so much for your positive comment. I must say that it is such a great observation you made and related to the kind of spirit we posses as South Africans.

I receive your blessings and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Keep your fire for life burning!

Keep your fire burning!

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