Sindiwe and the Fireflies – This is the story of Sindiwe Magona. Born in the village of Gungululu in rural Eastern Cape. Born on August 23 1943, But life was not easy on Sindiwe, she left school in order to work as a cleaner, but no matter difficult her situation was Sindiwe never gave up on her dreams. She continued her studies while working. Until her hard work paid off. Sindiwe Magona earned her secondary and undergraduate education by correspondence, and later won a scholarship to study for her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Columbia University in the United States of America.
Sindiwe not only reached her dreams but she achieve even more. A Teacher, civil servant, novelist, poet, playwright, women’s activist, awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze for her literary and humanitarian contributions and her outstanding achievements in literature. Many people call her Nomabali because she’s always writing, telling and reading stories.
Author: Cheréne Pienaar, Illustrator: Jano Strydom
Text and Images from Sindiwe and the Fireflies
One day a very clever baby was born in Gungululu in the Eastern Cape.
Her name was Sindiwe Magona. She was the oldest of eight children.
At night, her grandmother told magical stories about ogres and giants, animals of the forests, great beasts, and little
creatures of the veld. It was Sindiwe’s favourite time.
Sindiwe loved school and she dreamed about being a teacher.
When Sindiwe became a teenager, her family organised a feast to celebrate.
She was given special things to wear and a wise old man sang a praise song to her. (Blessings, long life! May your ancestors guard you!)
Sindiwe trained to be a teacher. She was very excited to teach at her first school.
But there weren’t enough schools for black children and they had no desks or books to write in. This made Sindiwe feel scared. How could she be a good teacher when the children had nowhere to sit?
She left the school to work as a cleaner.
She worked in four different houses. Sometimes the people there treated her badly and Sindiwe became very unhappy.
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