Jake’s Sunday Post theme this week, is “Valuable.” I see that many of you have shown us that your family are your most valuable assets, whilst others have said that a good education is the most valuable thing a person can have. Others have said that time is the most precious gift we are given. I agree wholeheartedly with all these sentiments.
A couple of days ago, I did a post about my sister’s grandson’s birthday party, and sent her the link. When I called her to ask if she’d looked at it, she informed me that she’d been busy since 8am that morning, and hadn’t had a chance to even look at her computer. Her day had started off with fetching a young teenage boy from one of the African townships several miles away, and taking him to her art teacher for a lesson.
Here’s how it came about. Some time ago, her husband happened to pop into a small art gallery on the KZN Midlands tourist route. He saw there a painting done by a young African boy, and decided to buy it.
The owner of the gallery, on learning that my sister was an artist, invited her to take some of her work to display there. She asked to meet the young artist, realising that he had considerable talent, and decided that she needed to do something to encourage and help him. After only six hours, over two mornings, this is what he painted. His two mentors had showed him different painting techniques, and how to mix colours. He just ‘got it’. Isn’t this wonderful?
The time and effort spent with him, helped him to improve on his valuable talent, and of course, now he’s seen what he can do, he is so enthused to carry on with his art. Life isn’t at all easy for Mxolisi Nxele living in a township near Dargle.
He is 17-years-old, and only in Grade 8 at school. Schooling here goes up to Grade 12, so he still has four years to go. He lives with his sister in very humble, overcrowded conditions, and was quite overwhelmed when he walked into my sister’s lovely spacious home. He was fascinated to see a computer for the very first time. Just imagine, a teenager who has no idea how to use a computer. Have you ever heard of such a thing these days? He goes to the local school, but obviously they have insufficient equipment to teach their pupils adequately. It’s so very sad, and we can only hope that our government will one day very soon, get its priorities right and realise that the children of today are our country’s future, and its most valuable asset.
When he left a couple of days later, to go back home, he said that he’d had such a happy time with my sister and her two grandsons. She is going to keep in touch with Mxolisi, and continue encouraging him with his art. As Anatole France, the French poet and author once said, “Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.” I’m sure that now his talent has been recognised and nurtured, with help, he’ll go on to greater things.
I’m now mulling over an idea in my head. To carry on painting, he obviously needs paints and canvasses, which don’t come cheap. He’s gone home with some, to tide him over, but I was wondering if I sent an article to a couple of our local newspapers, whether they might publish it. There may be some readers who have art materials lying unused in their homes, which they would be willing to donate. What do you think?