Author, Jamie Wansey (Owner / Founder of The Foundation of Student Horizons)
On my desk in my office sits this photograph. It puts a smile on my face.
The Covid-19 crisis and the associated catastrophic impact on Student Horizons (and the rest of the travel and tourism industry) and on our people has shaken my resolve at times over the last 6 months. It has shaken my steadfastness on the odd occasion to keep going.
This photo motivates me to persevere and to persist and to keep going. It kicks me into action. It boots out any self-pity creeping in. I remember how incredibly fortunate I am. It reminds me of the significant value one gains through travel. It affirms to me how important Student Horizons work is, that we have real purpose and we are making a difference in society. Fundamentally, I feel a sense of enormous gratitude to be serving in a field that has a social impact in the world.
I landed in South Africa in 1996. I was eighteen. On reflection, it was a very special time in the history of the country with a great sense of hope in the air. The apartheid had only recently ended, and Nelson Mandela was of course President, the country’s first black head of state.
I would work at two ‘placements’ during my time in South Africa. I would coach sport at a large independent school (St Johns College) in central Johannesburg and I would teach English at a rural African farm school near Tzaneen in the province of Northern Transvaal, subsequently renamed Limpopo. It goes without saying I absolutely loved both my placements, each one providing me with a raft of different “experiences for life”.
The placements and the experiences I would have at each school could not have been more different from one another. They were the antithesis. The former exemplified white privilege and the latter, rural, poor subsistence living for the majority of black South Africans.