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  • Writer's pictureRuth First Trust

Shout out to our mentors!

We launched the 2022 mentorship programme for our 67 scholarship recipients on February 12 with our annual team building day. As 14 of our 22 mentors are Ruth First alumnae and given a couple of visitors in town from the coastal and international universities, it was the perfect opportunity for these ‘old girls’ to share their reflections on the programme.

“One of my favourite things about the Ruth First Mentorship Programme was the sense of belonging it gave me. Mentors take the initiative to make us comfortable by sharing their personal experiences. They allow us to talk about our personal struggles and it makes every meet-up a cathartic experience.

Having Erin as a mentor continues to play out into something beautiful. She spends a lot of time offering me and other fellow Ruthies’ advice about career choices and how we can go about achieving our career goals.” Natasha Mwilambwe, RF 2015

“My favourite moment with our mentor was when we went to Wimpy. It was crazy because it was the beginning of a new time for all of us. And it came with all types of struggles and worries. It felt so good to just stop, to just ground ourselves. For that's what I've always appreciated most about the mentorship programme. The fact that when life seems so chaotic with school and extra-curricular activities and life in general, they can help us realise that it's not all catastrophic. We can handle it. We're capable and that should we need it, help will always be available to us. High school is not easy but we're so fortunate to have them.” Basetsana Mfono, RF 2016

“My best were the physical exercises we used to do to tap into our mental health and state of mind. The yoga and the breathing exercises felt a bit weird but looking back, they made me more open to incorporating such practices into my life and to explore other ways of being self-aware. The mentors are our personal cheerleaders and it always felt strange to ask for so much from them, but it was also great to be able to depend on them in that capacity and even maintain relationships with them after matriculation." Vanessa Ndiangang, RF 2016

“My favourite moment with my mentor Jackie was all the end of term lunches she’d take us on. It was always something to look forward to on the last day of term! We explored many places from Princesa which is a Portuguese food restaurant, to trying out Tacos at a Mexican restaurant! I absolutely loved the thrill of trying out new food while reflecting on the term that had gone by. Jackie always made me feel proud of my work and motivated to do better the next term. I will always treasure those exciting end of term lunch dates!” Tshaamano Mabuba, RF 2017

“The programme exposed me to many new ways to unwind such as the yoga classes, the breathing exercises and even the writing exercises which I still use today. My mentor, Diana is still a big part of my life: she helped me find sponsors for university and provided general encouragement during that stressful time.

I also built a bond with my fellow Ruthies thanks to those Saturdays. Our shared experiences carried us through years of friendship because, while the mentors did their absolute best, we only had each other when walking through those Jeppe hallways. Having both my mentor and sisters by my side got me through the hardest of times.” Marlene Angwafor, RF 2015

“My mentor Claudina was most understanding of my busy schedule and when I was unable to attend, she offered assistance and guidance outside of the meetings which I really appreciated. The mentors are a wonderful support system, they nurture us and teach us.

The Ruthies in higher grades were also an inspiration. Zenadene was three years ahead of me and in my group. She helped me navigate and understand high school and made me feel welcomed in the Ruthie and Jeppe communities." Humayra Akhalwaya, RF 2014

“My first mentor, Ursula made me feel so welcome in the programme. She helped me see the importance of having my own voice. Her kindness made life at Jeppe easy.

Zenadene, my second mentor was brilliant, loving and kind. She ensured that everyone's opinion was heard. We all felt welcomed and looked forward to our mentor meetings. She helped me realise how important it is to first plan things out before taking actions.” Jabulile Mhambi, RF 2016

“It’s not often in life that you come across people who truly care and want to see the best for you: this is what the mentors encompass as they are always available, committed, and assist in providing guidance whenever needed. The programme opened a world of networks to me and was such a strong support system.

Transitioning from being a mentee to a mentor has been so fulfilling as I can finally give back to the wealth of knowledge I have received. And the knowledge continues to grow as I still learn an incredible amount from these young ambitious ladies, as well as the program tools and facilitators. I gained friends, a whole new network, a community, and what I would describe as a Ruthie Family - for which I am eternally grateful and this is why I continue to stay involved.” Zendadene Lazarus, RF 2011

“Coming back to the programme as an alumna, I have found that the mentorship sessions continue to make a positive impact on my life outside of high school. Showing up has given me the right support system and I would like to encourage every Ruthie to take advantage of it.” Natasha Mwilambwe, RF 2015

Above from left to right: Marlene Angwafor, Humayra Akhalwaya, Natasha Mwilambwe, Zenadene Lazarus and Vanessa Ndiangang.

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