Shobiyana High School

When you turn into Shobiyana High School, the first thing you notice (after the dust and heat) are the large elephant sculptures. Andries Botha, one of South Africa’s most acclaimed sculptors, constructed one of the large elephants out of the local rock with the help of local artists and donated it to the school. Walter Sibuyi, the art teacher, explains that the elephant faces towards the resting place of the eponymous Chief Shobiyana.

Seeds of Light has been supporting Shobiyana High School’s art students and their teacher, Walter Sibuyi, since 2012. Walter is passionate and ambitious. He plans for his high school to be the “art center for excellence” in Acornhoek and is working towards this end, despite 1700 pupils and almost no resources.

Of the 18 art students who matriculated in 2016, 11 achieved good results. Such is the success of this class, over a hundred students have now chosen to participate with art as a subject for 2017! The art students at the school regularly win prizes at local and provincial competitions.

Because of our long association with Shobiyana, it was the natural first choice for the roll out of Seeds of Light’s Reproductive Health Education and Peer Educator programs. Teachers estimate that 30-35 schoolgirls are pregnant at any one time. The area also has a very high incidence of HIV infection (approximately one in three is HIV+). Our program gives the students accurate reproductive information to enable them to make good choices.

The pupils have been ideal, and there are many encouraging accounts of how the program has empowered them.