Hello everyone, my name’s Charles Siboto. I’m going to be sharing my journey working with LightSail on this blog. I invite you to join me as we begin this journey of discovery and sharing a love for reading with the world. It’s only good manners to tell you about myself before we begin, seeing as we’ll be spending a lot of time together. I’m a reader, cultivator, and lover of beautiful stories. My love for stories has led to me working with stories and nurturing the stories people wish to share with the world in my capacity as an editor and proofreader. I tell my own stories too as the co-author of The Blacksmith and the Dragonfly, which is a South African fairy tale for children and is the first book of the Kwasuka Sukela series we’re working on going forward. I grew up as a reader and from early on I knew that stories are magic and that I want to be a part of that magic.
I first fell in love with the stories my grandmother told me as a child and also grew up listening to South African storytelling icon, Gcina Mhlope on the radio every Saturday morning on a show she had where she told iintsomi, African fairy tales. I can’t remember the name of the show but I loved the monsters she always told of and how the children in the stories always outsmarted them. I read books, comic books, played video games, watched movies and listened to weird radio dramas. I landed up studying English Literature, Linguistics and Literary studies and I loved most of it and hated some of it.
I remember one instance in my fourth year of university where I read the comic book, Final Crisis by Grant Morrison and had one of the greatest moments of my life reading a story and it shook me to my core. Final Crisis is a massive story in its complexity and when Zillo Valla (if my memory serves me well), one of the beings in charge of protecting the multiverse utters the following words it just gets me every single time I read that story: “Behold: we monitors who were faceless once . . . We all have names now, and stories. There are heroes and villains . . . secrets and lovers.” How beautiful is that? Somewhere in that comic book Superman asks that the words, To Be Continued to be carved on his tombstone because humanity’s story never comes to an end, it always carries on. I read and love J.R.R. Tolkien and he taught me that some stories can fill you with joy and yet still strike you with sorrow as sharp as swords, eucatastrophe he called it, the good ending that breaks your heart.
I joined the LightSail team in September this year, working from home in Leipzig in Germany at the beginning of our relationship. I then met Steven, Saul, and Bridget at the Frankfurter Buchmesse in Frankfurt the following month. The first time I saw LightSail in action I knew I wanted to be part of this journey, helping learners to read, learn and grow. I came back home to South Africa in November and got started in the Cape Town office.
My role at LightSail split into three parts: I’m responsible for publishing content and growing our library. I’m the instructional coach for the schools using LightSail here. We’re running a pilot program that I’ll fill you in on very soon. My third role is hanging out here with you guys, on the blog, and on social media, giving you all the news of what’s happening around here. I’ll also be traveling a lot with my amazing partner in spreading the love for reading, Samantha. She’s the Branch Manager and Business Development Manager in South Africa and will feature here a lot. We’ve already done a bit of traveling, which I’ll tell you all about in my next post.
Till then, stay amazing.