#IAmSuperwoman: Sihle Nyathi

August 24, 2017

I had a conversation with a student and I was talking about the fact that I don’t have much money as a university lecturer and she said something particularly poignant, she said that “You don’t have a mansion but you have built castles in the hearts of your students”.

This level of wisdom was not something that I expected from a student but you never know how much you have touched people’s lives until the people whose lives you have touched start giving back to you.

Teaching is an act of faith; one has to believe that the greatest change can happen in a human being. As a lecturer I have learnt that one must believe in a student and especially in those students who can be said to have Low IQ’s. One must give hope, always.

I have had the privilege to teach mature students and some who are over 50 and whose dream was just to get a degree and so in a sense you help to birth dreams. In teaching you not only touch the lives of students but touch their families.

I was walking in town one day and I met a man who said that he met one of my graduating students and the student said that l had ‘changed his life in three days’.  The student was on the verge of failing to submit his research. I was not the supervisor but I could not allow his dreams to be shattered and so I put aside my own research and worked on his research and he eventually submitted in three days.

So what makes me a superwoman? …Its faith, its putting aside my own dreams and helping others to achieve their dreams?It’s inspiring a generation that changes the world; it is not only giving book knowledge but inspiring a generation of leaders who will do things differently.

It’s living up to my name,‘Sihle’. My parents in naming me ‘Sihle’ were saying ‘Sihle isipho esisiphiweyo” meaning that we have been given a beautiful gift and I try to live up to my prophetic name everyday by fighting to make sure that the dreams of my students are realised.

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