Study funds will change these four young lives forever

These four Villa Liza Secondary matriculants have high hopes of a bright future and are in desperate need of study assistance for next year. From left: Njabulo Koatlhai, Thozama Dilate, Matthew Goduka and Clyde Mokoena.


Many matric learners were ecstatic after their last exam paper on November 28, but for these four learners reality quickly struck when they asked themselves who is going to fund their studies next year.

Many matric learners across the country face massive financial stress after school, just like Matthew Goduka, Njabulo Koatlhai, Thozama Dilata and Clyde Mokoena do.

These four learners may seem to be different and are from different backgrounds, but their struggles and their hunger for change links them together.

Four Villa Liza matriculants with high potential are looking for study assistance next year. From left: Njabulo Koatlhai, Thozama Dilate, Matthew Goduka and Clyde Mokoena.

Who are they?

* Matthew Goduka (20) lives in a rented four-room house in Villa Liza with his unemployed mother, father and siblings.

Matthew, who is a pastor’s child, said his faith in God has helped him in his difficult journey while growing up on the streets of Vosloorus.

“Life was difficult when I was growing up because I was abused at a young age. It took a while for me to return to my normal state as I had to attend counselling sessions, which did help me a lot,” he said.

Following their move from Vosloorus to Villa Liza, his family couldn’t pay rent anymore.

Due to financial struggles at home and the abuse he went through, Matthew said there was a time when his school marks dropped.

One of the most exciting highlights of his youth was when he sang for the first time in church.

“I love music very much as it heals me and I express myself very much through music,” he said. Matthew said English and life sciences were his favourite subjects at school.

He aspires to be a male nurse. He said his passion to study nursing was ignited by a male nurse he was once in contact with and who helped him a lot when he visited the clinic.

“I believe that there are few male nurses because of the stigma attached to this profession – many people believe being a nurse is only for women – but I would like to follow this profession and change people’s lives,” he said.

Matthew has registered to study nursing at the University of Johannesburg but missed the deadline for the Impilo Royal College because he didn’t have the registration fee.

This quote by Will Smith motivates him every day: “When you are absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.”

* Njabulo Koatlhai (17), who lives in Dawn Park with his parents and siblings, had to overcome the fear of being bullied – something which has made him a stronger person.

“I grew up as an outcast; I saw myself as being very different to other children. People used to judge me a lot so that’s when I got used to my own space,” he said.

Njabulo, who doesn’t know his biological father, said he has a good heart but is sometimes misrepresented.

One of his saddest memories is of his 70-year-old grandmother’s death in 2014.

“Whenever I go to Katlehong where my grandmother lived, it’s like I’m going to see her sitting in her chair. I really miss her,” Njabulo said.

One thing he is going to miss about school is all the fascinating characters he got to meet.

He said he aspires to be a film-maker one day because he is fascinated by films. Njabulo has applied at the University of Johannesburg to study film.

The quote that motivates him every day is by Oprah Winfrey: “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”

* Thozama Dilata (18) aspires to be a lawyer one day and change her home situation.

Thozama lives with her 11-year-old sibling and mother in a rented house in Villa Liza.

She has faced many challenges in her life but said these have made her stronger. Through these challenges she has learned to be independent and to aim high to change her family’s poor background.

“There was a time when my mom disappeared and I had to look after my sibling, but we had our uncle around who was also young at the time. My father died when I was very young,” she said.

Thozama believes that if she can get a sponsor to fund her studies, her life will change for the better. She has applied at Rhodes University and at the University of Johannesburg.

Her hobbies are reading and writing.

Thozama said she won’t miss anything about school but looks forward to a brighter future outside of school.

Whenever she feels down, Maya Angelou’s quote, “We may encounter defeat but we must not be defeated”, keeps her going.

* Clyde Mokoena (17) lost his mother when he was six years old and had to take up the role of “father” to his siblings and also had to look after his grandmother.

According to Clyde, they survive off his grandmother’s social grant money as no one is employed at home.

“Every month from the 20th we run out of money and then we have to wait for my grandmother’s next pay date.

“I have now become the ‘money-keeper’ because if I don’t oversee where the money goes, we end up in a financial mess.

“One thing I learnt from my mother is that no matter what the situation, don’t show people that you are weak. I have learnt to adapt to poverty but I don’t want to die poor,” he said.

Clyde said every year he looks forward to the festive season because it unites his extended family.

His favourite subject was economics.

Clyde aspires to be an economist and has applied at the University of Johannesburg.

He describes himself as a self-driven, motivated young man whose dream is to succeed and change his home situation.

Clyde highlighted that he will miss his teachers who always encouraged him to push himself because they saw his potential.

“I’ve also received assistance from my sister who supported me in my school work. Without her I don’t know if I would have pulled through.”

A quote by Malcolm X, “A man that stands for nothing can be influenced by anything”, motivates him in life.

The deputy principal of Villa Liza Secondary School, Prim Vemgatsammy, highly recommends these four learners as good candidates for financial study assistance next year.

“They are all outstanding students who are well behaved and good role models to other learners.

“Each has a common goal – to achieve.

“If the public can assist with funding towards their education they can change their lives for the better,” she said.

Anyone who is willing to assist should contact Thomas Sibanyoni on 061 547 7431.

Ntombikayise Sibeko

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