Submitted by:  Tanzi Ann Cruise

I am staying because South Africa needs healing.  South Africa needs Ubuntu!  It needs you and me to believe in the change we want before we can see it.  We need to be the change makers – to be active citizens of change in our communities.  It needs you and me to be resilient and bold and to seek each other’s greatness and continue to encourage one another.

I am staying because a South African woman I know taught me how to be a teacher; she taught me how to find joy in what I do.  She taught me to value others and myself.  She taught me to not give up!  To stand up and fight for those who cannot.  She taught me to heal my heart.  She taught me this by using art.

South Africa needs Ubuntu!  It needs you and me to believe in the change we want before we can see it. 

Forty-one years ago, in an art building on a teachers’ campus in Mowbray, Cape Town, a young girl from the Eastern Cape sat on a wooden chair designing what would be the first of many art pieces.  This was no ordinary art piece.  It was a mandala*.  Little did she know that this mandala would be the foundation of so much healing for future student teachers; it would be a reflective practice for many a broken heart, crushed spirit, or troubled mind.  It would be the golden thread in the tapestry of life.

#ImStaying because I would like to honour this woman who has stood by the side of hundreds of students as they journey their identity as teachers and young adults facing all the craziness that goes on in life.

 She has a sacred strength that comes from knowing who she is.   

She has walked a road with students from all walks of life.  She has known and been a pillar of support for so many students.    She has a sacred strength that comes from knowing who she is.  She guides others to have the same knowledge of who they are, and to be that!

This woman is to be acknowledged not only for who she is and who she was.  I would like to acknowledge her and honour her for who she always CONTINUES to be, not just to me but to SO many people.  She has consistently given her life to the greatness of others; she is one of the giants on whose shoulders we as teachers stand.

She is willing to be vulnerable; she is willing to give so much of herself to bring understanding to those entering the teaching space as well as those who are already in that space.

In this challenging time when we find ourselves with a weakened education system, there are people like her working tirelessly to keep the boat going and not to let it sink.  If you have had the honour of knowing her, you will know without a doubt that she extends her hands and her heart to all willing to work towards a greater South Africa as we continue to keep education alive in our country.

Dr. Sandy Johnson.  Thank you, Enkosi Kakhulu, Baie dankie, Ke a leboha haholo, Siyabonga, Ngiyabonga, Re a leboga, Ndza Nkhensa, Ke Itumetse, Ro Livhuwa!

*For those reading this who are not sure what a mandala is: The mandala represents a person, place, event, or a combination of these, which is then represented by symbols in words, line, patterns, colour, and texture.  Each of these elements has significance, representing an aspect of wisdom, reflection, or just a symbolic reminder of the artist journey.  There are many purposes for creating a mandala.  For me, it is to help transform emotions into mindfulness, to assist with healing, and to have a tangible image of a process of change.

#Imstaying #ubuntu #healSA #honouringGIANTS