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Michelle Albers, an English teacher from Thomas More College, shared a beautiful, tear-jerking open letter from one of her talented students.


Durban, South Africa (22 April 2020) – Michelle Albers, a grade 11 English teacher from Thomas More College in Kloof, Durban gave her students an online assignment to write an open letter.

When they started landing in her inbox, Michelle eagerly opened each one.

When she started reading the open letter by her student Jessica Mills, she knew she was reading something that needed to be seen by every South African. Michelle quickly emailed Jessica back, asking her permission to share it with us at Good Things Guy. As soon as Jessica gave her permission, we received the powerful open letter.

“This is a moment of hope and pride in our future leaders of this beautiful country and continent” – Michelle Albers.

Reading Jessica’s open letter, we started with goosebumps and ended up in tears. The open letter is beautiful and a stunning tribute to South Africa. Take a look below.


Dear Mama Africa,

I write you this letter to say thank you. For the past 17 years, you have been good to me. You have given me a home and borne me your fruits before I was even old enough to ask. You painted me sunsets of gold and performed each stroke with a harmonious rhythm that couldn’t be recreated anywhere else in the world. On my first birthday, you gifted me the very soil I would learn to take my first steps on, and as I grew older you taught me the ways of your culture. Everything I do is because of you.

Because of you, I call traffic lights “robots” and I call diapers “nappies”. Mama, you have united my people and sheltered them regardless of their age, race or status. Your affection and nurturing has been unconditional, and for that, I love you. You are who I am and no amount of time or distance could ever scratch out your name.

But, I also write this letter to say sorry. I am sorry for any piece of litter I threw on the ground because I was too lazy to find a bin. I am sorry for the times I cursed your name when I looked to other lands and assumed their grass was greener. I am sorry that when I noticed your dams begging for rain and your land cracking into dust that I chose to carry on with my selfish life. But mostly, I am sorry that my apology didn’t come sooner. I am sorry that I am apologising too late.

Your beauty and purity is emphasised by current events. Our human sense of entitlement has demanded too much of you, and our reckless behaviour has caused us nothing but destruction. With global warming and an intimidating virus threatening our survival, I don’t fear the extinction of humans. Instead, I fear that due to my running out of time, I will never be able to return your graces. Once your children are gone, I fear that your senses will struggle to adapt to your new-found solidarity.

I fear that your ears will find the silence suffocating as you no longer hear the obnoxious noise bellowing from taxis and proud Vuvuzelas. I fear that your tongue will forget the taste of our spices and that your nose will forget the unmistakable smell of a nearby braai. I worry that you will no longer be able to feel the hollow imprints of our footsteps and that once your natural beauty is restored, you will feel lonely having no one to share the view with.

Mama, I can’t change my ways in the past, but I can promise you that from this day forward I will give you every piece of me as you did all those years ago. I will seize each day that I have with you and show you what I am able to do with all that you have given me. I will warm in your sunlight, and I will cool in your rivers. I will use my hands to plant you a new life, and I will acknowledge every aspect of your elegant grace, not letting a single flower pass me by without admiring the intricate detail you invested into it. I promise that I am thankful. I promise that I am sorry. I promise that I am going to make you proud.

Jessica Mills

22 April 2020

Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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