Siyasanga Mafalala

Name: Siyasanga Mafalala
Study: Occupational Therapy at the University of the Western Cape
Start University: 2018
Date of Birth: 01 July 1998

What’s the most important in your life?

The most important thing to me is getting an education and creating better opportunities for my family. This is important to me because no one has ever had a degree in my family, not even a matric certificate. I want to be the person that breaks that cycle, and get an education, to better things for my family and of course for other people as well.

Could you tell us something about your personal situation (family, how you grew up, friends, hobbies etc.)?

I was born and raised in Cape Town, I lived most of my life with my mom in Imizamo Yethu, a small township in Hout Bay. My mother did not have any formal schooling, therefore she worked as a domestic worker to support me and my two younger siblings. She worked hard and went the extra mile to make sure that we did not go to bed in an empty stomach. However, my mother and I did not have the best relationship, we did not speak much, the only communication we had was though shouting. This strained our relationship, but we loved each other. Well, my mother grew up without parents, she was abandoned as at a very young age, and had to be raised by family members. Her life living with those family members was not the most pleasant especially when she fell pregnant with me at the age of fifteen. So I have always believed that our relationship was not ok because of all those reasons, and that she was also not healed from the negligence of her parents. But she did an amazing job with raising me and my siblings, I salute her for that. Unfortunately my mother passed on last year in November at the age of 35, now I am left with my eleven year old sister and my six year old brother. My step father, my sisters father in this case is still in the picture, and he is the one that helps me with my sister, my brother is in the Eastern Cape with the people that raised my mother. I am passionate about music, so whenever I have time I attend choir practice at church, dance is also one of my hobbies, not that I am a good dancer, but I just love moving to music. I do not have any friends but I socialise with people from my church, school, and where I currently live.

What are your personal and business goals?

My first personal goal is completing my degree, if that could happen then everything else could fall into place. Obtaining this degree, could mean that I can finally be able to take care of my siblings, open up a business, and fulfil my dream of helping those in need.

How do you get in to the Thatha Ithuba programm, what does it mean for you? What makes you proud beeing a part of this program?

I got into the THATHA ITHUBA programme though Rotaract, where I met Gina and Martin. The THATHA ITHUBA redeemed me in my worst stressful time, when I had no funds to get into varsity, by offering to pay the fees for me. I am eternally grateful for this. Now I am in University because of the help of THATHA ITHUBA.

Did it change your life/your behavior?

It changed both my life and behaviour completely, had it not been for their generosity, I do not know how I would have coped with school (varsity) or let alone even get in.

How is the collaboration with your mentor? Who is your mentor and how is your mentore supports you? What kind of support would you need more/less?

My mentor is Christina Kuhn, I like the collaboration, she is a good mentor.  School work is the area I need support with, but Christina is doing that just fine, I write reports to her on how I am coping and how things are with school.

Tell us something about beeing a mentor? How is it?

Being a mentor is the most amazing thing, but a bit challenging here and there, but having a mentor myself makes it a bit better. The meetings and feedbacks we normally have as a group (the Rotaract) regarding mentorship are also very helpful. I am enjoying being a mentor, it feels good guiding and helping someone else especially knowing that I have never have had the opportunity when I was their age.

Do you have special wishes / ideas for the program?

I am grateful for the work that THATHA ITHUBA is doing, I am forever thankful, I would not change anything that the programme is already doing.

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