TVS was inspired by Archie Sebeko (
also known as Zola Zembe).
Archie was born in Tyume Valley and now lives in Tynemouth.
He distinguished himself in the struggle against apartheid and was awarded the Order of Luthuli in Silver by President Thabo Mbeki.
“I was born and bred in the Tyume valley and went to Kwezana school, which was then based in the church.
When I was able to go back to South Africa after 1990, I took my wife to Tyume to see where I had come from and meet my relatives.
There was now a school building, but not much else had changed in over 40 years.
The building had mud floors, no ceiling and no water supply. There was no electricity in the classrooms. There were no books, posters on the walls, art materials, sports equipment or musical instruments.
The children were delightful, well behaved and could sing, but they were still getting ‘Bantu education’, the rote learning suitable for the hewers of wood and drawers of water that the apartheid regime had intended them to be.
We felt we ought to do something.
The parents’ priority was for water to be available, so we went into Alice and bought a water butt to replace the one that had once been there to catch rainwater off the roof but had long since sprung a leak.
When we returned to Manchester, friends got interested in trying to help the school and started to raise money for books, sports kits etc. Maggie Kiloh, an old friend from Zambian days with a great commitment to South Africa, got involved.
She and Margaret Woodward went out to see what practical help they could give the school – and it all began from there.
We felt that these children – living in a poor rural area, many orphaned by AIDS and living with grandparents – had the same rights as children anywhere to an education that would prepare them to play a part in the modern world – and that is still our dream.”
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