Growing up in the small township of Kayamandi in Stellenbosch wasn’t exactly easy, but it wasn’t too difficult either. My mother sold Umqombothi (African beer) and chicken meat to make sure I had everything necessary for my education. So while I may not have had everything I wanted, I definitely had everything I needed for school.
I initially went to the township’s Ikaya Primary School, but in 2006 started my Grade 8 studies at Kayamandi High School. The following year, I applied to take part in the Vision K programme (now known as Vision Afrika) and luckily became one of the chosen few. It has helped shape my life in all areas, teaching me life skills, helping me choose the right career path and generally to stay on the straight and narrow.
It also showed me how to work in a team, empathise with other people’s problems and the benefits of giving to others from the little I have. And I discovered a love of camping and mountain-climbing too. By 2008, I even got involved with a drama group called Youth in Action, which won several awards in the Buya Schools Theatre Festival held at the HB Thom Theatre at Stellenbosch University.
Anyway, I remained with the Vision AfriKa programme until I took my matric in 2010. Even though I wasn’t able to go into further education at that point due to personal circumstances, I volunteered to help out with Vision AfriKa’s high school programmes instead.
The experience led me to want to study to become a management assistant student at Boland College, but an administrative error meant I was placed on the wrong course. Even so, I gained four distinctions in Office Administration that year. But in 2014, I re-enrolled on the Management Assistant course and earned distinctions there too, before finally graduating on Friday 13 May, 2016.
On completing my studies in August last year though, I found myself a job working as a tea lady at Distell’s offices, Africa’s leading producer of fine wines and spirits. But within only four months, I was hired to take on a position more suited to my skills as personal assistant to the marketing manager of Centurion Tours. A mere seven months later, I’m now working as a secretary at one of the departments of Stellenbosch University. It’s amazing how quickly things can change for the better when you’re on the right track.