On Thursday 24 November 2016, Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa held a remarkable farewell function in honor of the school’s longest serving staff member, Estelle Dlamini who has just retired from her profession. Make Dlamini, as she was affectionately known in the school, has been working for Waterford Kamhlaba as a SiSwati teacher since January 1981.
The event, held at Waterford’s amphitheater, was attended by current staff, students, alumni and other guests including chairman of the governing council, Dr. Mark Mills. Every speaker saluted the retiring teacher for her great service not only to Waterford but to the teaching profession as a whole. Speaking during the farewell function, the school principal Stephen Lowry thanked Estelle Dlamini for her contribution to the success of the school over the years. Make Dlamini has been an incredible asset to the school in many ways and we are really grateful for her contribution to Waterford Kamhlaba. Ross Jennings, an alum and a son of former principal Athol Jennings who appointed Make Dlamini in 1981 was also present and gave a speech about the impact she has had in her life. Emphasizing the fact that Make Dlamini was his father’s best appointment at the school during his time.
Tributes were shared in form of poems in SiSwati and English, dances by students, traditional dances by Waterford volunteers as well as housekeeping and capitol staff.
When it was her turn to speak, Dlamini said she was humbled by the speakers who had spoken so well about her on the day. “It is hard to bid farewell to a community that has been part of your life for 36 years,” she said. She humorously commented that she was leaving because she was physically not able to do the job due to age, even though her heart was still willing to continue. “Waterford has been an amazing place to me. When I first came here I had three fears about the place: cultural shock, racial discrimination and the fact that people had told me that I was going to teach kids that were not disciplined,” she said. She continued to explain that, contrary to this, the environment was great and everyone was very helpful. “I have never suffered any form of discrimination in this place since I began in 1981. This is a lovely community in which everyone is treated with utmost respect,” she continued. She also highlighted that she had built a very good relationship with her students and she learnt that students respond in the manner in which you treat them as a teacher. She ended her speech by saying, “thank you very much for making my family and I the people we are today”.
Throughout the event, there were exciting performances by staff, students as well as our housekeeping staff that included music, dance and poetry. Students took turns to express their appreciation for the retiring teacher, describing her as a helpful and loving teacher who offered them motherly love even outside of the classroom. She concluded by announcing a new book that she is currently writing, saying, “I am not going home to rot. Besides full time farming, I will also be working on my book, Teaching SiSwati as a second language. I want to continue sharing what I know with other professionals in academia,” she said emphatically.
For more pictures about the event, go to https://www.waterford.sz/news/photos/album.php?s=make-dlamini-farewell-2016