16 October 2023
Hamza Yassin, British Wildlife cameraman, Star of Countryfile, Animal Park, CBeebies, The One Show and Strictly Come Dancing Winner 2022, paid a special visit to Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools before his sold-out performance at The Blake Theatre last week.
It was a chance for pupils (and big fans!) to meet him and ask their burning questions – some of which the eager Monmouth Prep School students had expertly prepared for him earlier, when the news of his visit broke.
Hamza sat and chatted with students about his fascinating career, his favourite birds and animals (his is the silverback gorilla!), his most memorable filming location and, of course, his favourite dance moves during his time on Strictly Come Dancing.
In a heartwarming moment, Hamza delved into his childhood, describing his early years in Sudan and mentioning his beloved childhood pet – a monkey. He spoke about how fortunate he was to grow up surrounded by remarkable wildlife. Upon his family’s move to the UK, he turned to the legendary Sir David Attenborough and Steve Irwin documentaries to learn English, which ignited his passion for wildlife and photography.
Whilst signing copies of his new book, ‘Be a Birder’, for the school’s libraries, Hamza also shared his journey with dyslexia and described how he wrote his book by speaking into a dictaphone, bird by bird, explaining exactly what he wanted each page to say. His message was clear: dyslexia should never be seen as a barrier to achieving one’s goals.
Monmouth Prep School’s Headmaster, Mr. Neil Shaw, emphasized, “We always say that dyslexia and other additional learning needs are never a barrier to success.” Hamza chimed in, “It’s a gift, I call it my gift.”
Hamza Yassin’s visit was a truly inspiring experience for the students, a reminder that passion, perseverance, and a love for nature can lead to extraordinary achievements, regardless of the challenges one may face.