I met the teacher that I had always dreamed of having when I was in primary school. She’s polite and sympathetic. Her white teeth shine her whole coffee-light-skinned face whenever she is smiling, and that gives me the freedom to talk to her whenever I’m down. She’s as tall as me, as thick as me, and with a baby face; with all that, she became a comfortable place for an introvert like me. Her name is Delisile Makamo, and she was my high school teacher.

Her lessons contributed to me finding myself as an author. In my classroom, she would always ask me to read poems and short stories for everyone, and I still remember the ones I used to love, like “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and “Transforming Moments” by Gcina Mhlophe. I was Ma’am Makamo’s Gcina Mhlophe; she enjoyed hearing my bold voice whenever I read and looking at my brown eyes when I shared eye contact, she would smile and raise her thumb for me, and I know that was a sign of saying “perfect”. She taught me to be fluent, audible, and have eye contact, and also the rules of writing. She’s the one who educated me to write when there’s something that’s bothering me or when I’m extremely happy. She recognised the potential of writing in me. Even when I failed my test, she would call me privately and ask what was wrong, and when I failed to respond, her advice would be to tell me to ink everything on paper.

As one of her beloved learners, I went to college with confidence, and my marks prove that because they’re always above 67℅, especially in English. Her lessons are still dancing in my head: to do what I do with love and to work hard on my studies. Hence, when I feel like I’m losing them, I do nothing but go back to my wrinkled and dusty high school English book note, or if I don’t have the energy, I just grab my Huawei and call her, I know that hearing Ma’am Makamo’s voice renews my strength and gives me hope. She’s still the biggest part of my life, and teachers like her are few. Imagine two weeks back, I received a video call from her, “Girl, how far are you with writing?” she asked, so concerned, “I want to feed my eyes with your gift,” and giggled like a little child. Ma’am Makamo doesn’t forget me as the habit of other teachers; she’s always on my back, and thus I feel loved.

Indeed, I’m blessed to have a person like Ma’am Makamo, and I wish that all teachers were like her to spot and support the talents of learners. I also wish for her to live longer so that she can witness the seed she planted in me, believe in myself and be able to adjust my emotions by using a pen when I’m at my worst. In her, I learned that worries can be turned into talents. I am a proud high school learner of Ma’am Makamo.