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  • Writer's pictureRuth First Trust

Flying above the clouds

If Sierra Mudangwe were a bird, she’d like to be an eagle. Flying up high, she pictures herself overcoming challenges, and looking beyond the here and now. Beyond the Grade 9 challenges of subject choices, group assignments, dynamic friendship groups – with her sights set on studying Software Development at UCT after school, she is focused and goal directed, and knows where she’s headed.

Just back from the National Chess Championships in Cape Town over the school holidays, Sierra reflects on her experience. “We travelled in a bus, stayed in a hotel, and ate lots of take outs for lunch and dinner. I made friends with some of the other Gauteng players: we shared a room in the Road Lodge and ate breakfast there every day.

It was tough playing in a national tournament The first day, I felt intimidated, and a bit overcome. I won only 1 match out of my three. I went back to the hotel and discussed things with my coach: analysed how I had played, and what I could have done differently. The second day was different. I won both my matches!. I bounced back and showed my resilience – it felt great. On the third day, my matches were tough – I was successful in one of the two. Overall, I was pleased with my 4/7 record – and it felt good once we were done.”

Sierra learned to play chess at Highveld Primary School in Grades 6 and 7. Over the past two years, she has benefited from Jobert Wany’s coaching at Jeppe Girls which has taken her game to a higher level. She was delighted to be selected for the Gauteng Team to go to Nationals and hopes to go again next year.

Her favourite memory of the trip was sunset up on Signal Hill with her team mates – a good place for an aspirant eagle to be.

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