According to Black Female Equestrian, “Selika Lazevski, a 19th century equestrian was photographed here by Felix Nadar in 1891 in Paris, France. She was an écuyère who performed haute école – which means she was an equestrian who rode high school dressage in French circuses in the 19th century.” Susanna Forrest, author and equestrian, writes further: “Sélika is the name of the heroine of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s 1865 opera, L’Africaine, and was adopted as a stage name by the first black woman to sing at the White House, the coloratura soprano Madame Marie Selika Williams. According to this site, the opera was hugely popular among African Americans, and Selika became a fashionable name. Popular among horse owners too: a filly called Selika won the Kentucky Oaks in 1894.”
TESTAMENT OF YOUTH is a searing story of love and war. Based on the classic First World War memoir, this is the incredible true story of one young woman’s struggle to survive the horrors of war, which robbed her of everyone and everything she held dear, but was ultimately unable to break her extraordinary spirit.
Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), irrepressible, intelligent and free-minded, overcomes the prejudices of her family and hometown to win a scholarship to Oxford. With everything to live for, she falls in love with her brother’s close friend Roland Leighton (Kit Harrington) as they go to University to pursue their literary dreams. But the First World War is looming and as the boys leave for the front Vera realises she cannot sit idly by as her peers fight for their country, so volunteers as a nurse. She works tirelessly, experiencing all the grief of war, as one by one her fiancé, her brother and their closest friends are all killed and the pillars of her world shattered. But, an indefatigable spirit, Vera endures and returns to Oxford, irrevocably changed, yet determined to create a world in which such a war can never take place again.