“I didn’t do well in Matric. Actually, I failed Grade 12. But I didn’t give up on life. I decided to do something that will help me to grow as an individual and help my family at the same time. I looked for a job but I couldn’t get one because I didn’t qualify. So I approached loveLife (an NGO and youth development campaign focused on preventing the spread of HIV and Aids among young people) to become a groundBREAKER (stipended youth volunteers that are part of structured youth development programmes), but after six months they called me and told me that I don’t have Matric and thus don’t qualify. So after that I was at home for three months doing nothing – just being depressed, thinking about life, hating myself and the way I grew up.
I’m not academic, but I believe in education. I’ve learnt that in black schools they teach children to become slaves. They teach them how to become employees, to work for someone, but when you go to model C schools or to white schools, they teach children how to start their own businesses and become independent. So that’s one of the things I hate about school, specifically black schools in the townships. The transition out of school was a good experience for me. I don’t think you need education to become successful, it’s all in your brain, it’s how you think. Some people become successful because they’ve studied and whatever and some people because of the drive they have. They have a vision for their lives. My vision is to see Khayelitsha having a theatre, an art gallery, a dance studio. I want to see Khayelitsha having its own museum, something that will tell a story about Khayelitsha.
My two sisters and my mother are most important to me. I want to be a role model to my two sisters. I don’t want them to miss opportunities. I want them to be exposed to different careers so that when they are older, they can make the right decisions. I don’t want them to grow up in Khayelitsha. I want to work hard so that when they attend high school, they can go to a proper school. After high school I don’t want them to go back to Khayelitsha, they should live a good life. I want to teach them respect. I want them to know their background and understand it and also be willing to help other people.
My stepfather made me the person I am. He taught me respect, he taught me how to behave as a man, how to treat a family and work for the family. He taught me about culture, he taught me about God, he taught me everything. He was a taxi driver taking people from Khayelitsha to work. He got shot in 2009. That’s how he died. After that we struggled a lot. He was working hard to make sure that we had something to eat at home. He had two jobs. When he died, we couldn’t manage. My mother was also unemployed for five months. We used to survive through the grant money. Then she got a job as a domestic worker.
My mother is one of the people that I am proud of. She had me when she was 14 or 15, she raised me no matter what was happening. She’s a domestic worker because she wanted to make sure that we have something to eat. She took me to school and she supported the things that I do. I’m grateful to her.
I feel happiest when I have a vision and see it happening. I had a vision for the art exhibition to happen in Khayelitsha and I made it happen. But, in order to live, you need money – my finances are a problem. If you don’t have money you don’t always have confidence to do what you want to do because you can’t afford it. Sometimes I struggle to go to town. When I was still at school, I struggled to go to school. Money continues to be a struggle. My mom is living her own life now, so I have to come up with a plan to get money and move out of home and start my own life.”