DPIE is proud to have sponsored a very special visit by author, Mark Mathabane, whose book Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa continues to touch the lives of students at Dublin High School. This autobiographical tale of the life of degradation under apartheid has been required reading in English 10 Advanced classes for the past eight years. After being contacted through his website by a DHS student, Logan Bowie, who was reading the book, a conversation quickly ensued which lead to an invitation to speak at Dublin High School.
DHS English teachers Erin Vallejo and Sara Hollison contacted DPIE in early April, along with other organizations, to ask if we could help fund this incredible opportunity. Time was of the essence because the school year was quickly coming to an end and Mr. Mathabane was headed to South Africa to film a movie There Lies Hope based on his incredible story. Sponsors were secured and a date was set. Mr. Mathabane would visit DHS on Wednesday, May 24th.
Chris Bennett, DPIE Board Member, was invited to attend this incredible event by the organizers. Mrs. Bennett shared with me the feeling in the room. “Many of the adult guests and administrators noticed and commented that the students in the theater were completely focused and quiet as Mr. Mathabane (Ma-ta-ba-nay) spoke. He often paced as though he needed to move while reliving some of the most difficult moments in his life, but occasionally he would stop and directly address the students to appreciate and use the amazing privileges they have. It was clear that for many of these students, this was the first time someone outside their family had personally called on them to acknowledge and take responsibility for their circumstances and choices. And when Mr. Mathabane finished speaking and said “thank you,” the entire audience rose energetically to their feet in respect and appreciation.”
Both of Mrs. Bennett’s children have read and were impacted by the book Kaffir Boy and she was instrumental in bringing this opportunity to DPIE. As a DPIE Board member, there was moment when she realized just how big this was. “It wasn’t until I was in the room side-by-side with the teachers and administrators who worked tirelessly to put this event together as well as other sponsor representatives that I truly understood: this was a once-in-a-lifetime moment and it wouldn’t have been possible without DPIE’s support. To create and support these kinds of exceptional opportunities is what DPIE, and my board position, is all about.”
The inspiring lecture to a packed theater was perfectly captured by student contributor, Neha Harpanhalli, at OneDublin.org. If you would like to help DPIE continue to sponsor these amazing experiences for Dublin students, please consider making a donation – www.dpie.org/donate/ or becoming a partner – www.dpie.org/partnership/.
Photo credits: Neha Harpanhalli, DHS Student