My name is Omphile Mokwena. I come from Ga-Rankuwa in the northern part of South Africa. My community is one of the marginalized, and one of the historically segregated communities from Apartheid. I am currently in Grade 10 and doing well in my studies. Ga-Rankuwa is not an easy place to grow up in, it has a lot of challenges and unhealthy patterns that the youths get tangled up in. For example, there are a lot of Taverns where people buy alcohol, and drugs, and party at night clubs which automatically causes chaos in the community. There is also not much to do for youth so we end up going to the Taverns to keep ourselves busy. School dropouts are high, the reason behind this is either teenage pregnancy or lack of motivation to go to school.
"I have dreams about my community, I wish to see it change and I want to be the change that I want to see because I already have younger learners who look up to me."
I have a very strict family so I regard myself as lucky because they do not allow me to go out a lot during weekends. My mother tries to make sure I study hard so I can succeed. Even though there are a lot of challenges in Ga-Rankuwa, I still dream of being my own version of success one day.
I want to be a Cardiologist because I have realized that we have fewer Cardiologists in my country. I also lost my Grandfather to heart disease, one I was very close to. This really hurt me as I still have questions I would like to ask him and learn more from him. So I want to make sure no one ever loses a loved one because of heart disease.
I have dreams about my community, I wish to see it change and I want to be the change that I want to see because I already have younger learners who look up to me.
Being part of the ACFE Educate a Girl Child campaign made me realize that I need to accept myself and where I come from so I can be able to know where I’m going. Most importantly, I learned that I need to stand my ground and not give in to unhealthy pressure.
Photo: Omphile Mokwena participates in the Emotional Development component of the Leadership Program at St. Augustines LEAP School in Ga-Rankuwa in August 2018.