Published author, talented artist, former sugarcraft specialist and mentor, Sylvia Coward is a true example of a strong, empowered woman living life to the fullest. Having already (or only, depending how you look at it) lived for 82 years, Sylvia has accomplished so much in her life, and she’s not done giving of herself just yet.
This lifetime is not long enough for me to do all the things I want to do,” says 82-year-old Sylvia, seated in the lounge of her Brettenwood Forest Village home. She and her husband of 62 years, Victor, have lived here for 10 years.
Sylvia has certainly done more than most in her life. From running a successful sugarcraft business in Johannesburg for 10 years, judging cake shows around the country and publishing a number of cake-decorating books, to being a self-taught, exhibiting artist and even running ‘life improvement’ programmes for prisoners in South African prisons . . . Sylvia has done it all.
She has also known great loss and tragedy in her life. The mother of four (two daughters and two sons) tragically lost one of her sons, Glenn, his wife and their two children in a light airplane crash 11 years ago. At the time, Sylvia and Victor were living in Bloemfontein near Glenn and his family.
“After the accident we didn’t have any family left in Bloemfontein and decided to move to Ballito where my daughter was living,” says Sylvia.
“When something like that happens you just have to decide to keep getting up every day and keep on living. You have to move forward.”
Having always had a flair for the creative, Sylvia is a self-taught artist and has been exhibiting her artwork at the La Lucia Mall with the North Coast Art Group for many years.
When her youngest grandchild was born in the UK a few years ago Sylvia says she didn’t know what gift to send overseas for him. She decided to write him a story.
Since then, Sylvia has self-published two children’s books, which she says are both fun and educational. Her books are, The Adventures of Fred the Frog (available on Kids Kindle on Amazon) and Fred the Frog and Friends Go to School, both of which she illustrated herself.
When she is not painting or drawing Sylvia also mentors a 14-year-old girl, teaching her life and creative skills. “I love teaching and imparting information. It makes me happy. It’s an interesting life we live, and making the most of it truly is what living is all about.”
Details: Sylvia: 083 415 1608, [email protected].
TEXT: Leah Shone