Fannie Sebolela

Fannie Sebolela

The power of the human spirit has never failed to amaze. It is incredibly inspirational to hear about individuals who have singlehandedly helped to change their communities for the better.

And why is this important? It is important because not only does it encourage others to do the same in a world where all we hear about is doom and gloom, but it also shows people that it doesn’t take millions to do something to change a situation.

One man who knows that better than anyone is Fannie Sebolela. Sebolela is an ex-gardener in South Africa, living in a township called Khensani who turned a struggling school in his country into one of the nation’s very best.

The school was previously underfunded and under resourced and was very close to shutting down.

It catered to children from extremely impoverished and disadvantaged families, many of which came from families afflicted with HIV.

For a long time, it looked as if there was no hope for one of the few schools in the country that did not charge a fee.

But its principle Sebolela has now turned the school into the pride of South Africa and it is now one of the top-performing in the country.

Sebolela himself came from a very poor family background, and before he became the principal, he was forced to pay for his Bachelor of Arts at the University of South Africa by taking up gardening jobs. he then went on to obtain a Masters Degree from the University of Pretoria and a PhD from the University of Johannesburg.

Speaking about the transformation of the school, Sebolela said: “Every year we are making an improvement and this is what actually made more parents say ‘I am taking my child to Khensani primary school. And yes, we want to change everything but it’s not possible to accommodate every learner.

“I firmly believe that nothing yields better results than working very hard. You’ve got to work very hard for you to achieve anything and this is what I am striving throughout the way,” he told CNN.

So how did he manage to transform the school into one of South Africa’s best? Mr Sebolela said that one of the ways he has done this is to continually upgrade the facility and ensure that the children have access to the latest teaching materials such as computers, and new display boards.

He also relies on the help and donations of those who see the value in the work that he does.

Although running the school and keeping it as one of the top performing isn’t easy, this has failed to deter him.

In the same interview with CNN, he added: “I don’t fold my arms, and then sit and cry, I am going out and doing something. And it’s only that my resources are limited but I am prepared to go extra mile – should I get any resource I would make it to the fullest and I think I would be able to change the lives of this community around.”

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