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  • Writer's pictureRuth First Trust

Standing proud and tall

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

“This is a very big opportunity for a girl like me coming from Kliptown, an informal settlement. I should be selected because I am very hard-working, and I always do my best in everything. I am also a very kind and smart girl who is always looking forward to the bright future.”

In 2016, this is what 13 year old Masabata Mpou wrote in her application form for the Ruth First scholarship. And today, she is well on her way to delivering on the potential which we saw in her then as she makes the most of her final year at Jeppe.

“This is Matric and there is no time for playing. I want to go to university so badly – and I have to get the marks to get there.” With a 70% average at the end of the first term and placing 46th in the grade, she has improved her academic results significantly over the past year and is on track to attend university next year, either UJ or Wits to study Architecture or Accounting.

So what has made the difference? Masabata is clear on this: the Queens Hostel. Since early 2020, AVI, the sponsor of the Kliptown Youth Programme Ruth First scholarship girls has provided funding for them to stay in this hostel, ten minutes away from school. “Being in the hostel means I don’t have to worry about electricity. I have my own room, and there are no disruptions from my three younger siblings. There is enough food – if I am still hungry, I can go back for more.

“And best of all, I can participate in extra murals. I passed my Level Three First Aid exam on Saturday and I am in the Cross-Country team. When I was in Grade 8, I wanted to be a doctor and I thought First Aid would help me with this. But I don’t like blood. I rather look after the Athletics and Cross-Country girls than the hockey girls! In Grade 10, my marks were not good enough to do Physics, so I changed my career dreams. I am good at Maths and Accounting – I love Accounting. And my Maths is getting better all of the time." (Masabata is one of 6 Matrics through to the second round of the Maths Olympiad.)

"I have always enjoyed athletics, and I love to run. I am the only Matric in the Cross-Country team, and I just make time for it because I enjoy it so much.

“When I get back to the hostel at about 5pm, I do my prep until supper at 6, and then again after supper from 7 to 8. We go home on Friday afternoons and come back on Mondays so I still see my family, but in the week, I can just concentrate on my schoolwork.

“Jeppe Girls has taught me to be polite and kind, and to care about others. It has also taught me how to work hard and take things seriously. From the Ruth First programme, I have learned about teamwork and communication, and I have loved the bonding, especially with my mentorship group, the Peach team. I really appreciate the opportunities that have been given to me.”

As one of the shortest girls in Matric, Masabata loved this photograph of herself, looking so tall! Stand proud, Masabata – you are well on your way to that bright future!

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