Hard work pays off

School principal Mcebisi Mnconywa, Abenathi Basikakabini and her class teacher Nosiphiwo Xelelo all in a jovial mood as Abenathi has been accepted at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

A 12-year-old pupil from Vuzamanzi Primary School in Site C, Khayelitsha, has proven that hard work and diligence are the key ingredients to success.

Abenathi Basikabini, in Grade 7, has been accepted to study at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Johannesburg from next year.

She has also received a scholarship from the school to cover fees and accommodation and also her university fees after completing her high school studies.

Vuzamanzi Primary School selected five of its best academically performing pupils and sent their applications to the academy.

After attending numerous study camps and writing assessment tests, Abenathi emerged victorious and was the only one accepted.

Abenathi said persistence and perseverance were the key factors that kept her focused on her studies.

She said although she had tried her best, she didn’t think she would be accepted to study at the academy as it had high tuition fees.

She believes it was God’s plans as well as hard work and discipline that made this possible.

In an interview with Vukani, Abenathi said she wanted to use the opportunity wisely and become a beacon of hope to her peers, to show them that nothing was impossible.

She said her single mother would have battled to pay university fees but God works in mysterious ways. Abenathi wants to become a heart transplant doctor.

“I feel privileged that I will be studying at one of the best schools in the country. I never thought that I would study there. I want to show my peers and those who are studying in lower grades that they also stand a chance of studying there, only if they work hard. This has proven that it is not about where you come from but its all about what you want in life,” she said.

Abenathi said she intends to work extremely hard so that she does not disappoint her teachers for believing in her.

Vuzamanzi Primary School principal Mcebisi Mnconywa said he was over the moon with joy that Abenathi had been accepted.

He said as much as he wanted all the applicants to be selected, he was nevertheless happy.

He said this means that the school is heading in the right direction in terms of teaching. He said the school recognised pupils who were doing well academically, who came from disadvantage communities and who might not be able to afford the fees.

Abenathi was the third pupil from their school to be accepted at the academy.

Mr Mnconywa said the first pupil was now doing her third year in law at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

He said the pupils had to choose between the University of Cape Town (UCT) or Wits after completing their high school studies.

He said as the school they were proud and hope that more pupils will be accepted.

“We want to produce academics and professionals. We are happy that we have pupils that are accepted at prestigious schools. Nothing is impossible indeed,” he said.

Abenathi’s class teacher, Nosiphiwo Xelelo described her as a disciplined pupil who was dedicated to her studies. She said she performed well in all subjects.