Nomsa is a matric learner whose background is one of the many South Africans living in shacks with no electricity. She is the only child of a mine worker and a domestic worker who amongst other South Africans were fortunate enough to be employed with lack of education. Her parents didn’t go far with education, they only ended in standard 2, that enables them to write their names, sign and to count. They left the village life years ago in their youth years to find better life in the City of Gold like many others. At least they learned to speak Afrikaans and Basic English through meeting with diverse people which made communication much better to find jobs.
The story of Nomsa is not that different from other children living with unemployed parents. Her parent’s lack of education motivated them enough to enroll her in a government school preparing her for a better tomorrow.The school was very far but her parents worked hard, even worked double shifts and overtime just to make sure that their own child had enough transport fee, food and school resources. However, there were tough times when money did not add up but Nomsa never gave up on her dream. She would walk long distance to school and stayed extra hours after school to finish her school work.
Throughout the years her parents realized that Nomsa was a smart child. She would pass each grade with remarkable marks and that made her parents very proud. They would buy a cake which was the only luxury they could afford to celebrate her progress. Her father would tell her friends about the bright future of his daughter during lunch breaks ” I never made a mistake by taking her to school, she is the smart child. She will buy a car and take us to work one day”. They always supported her and encouraged her to do well as they would say “We are getting older, we will not have energy to work anymore. You must be able to feed and support yourself”. Little did they know that these words had a different meaning to Nomsa.
Today Nomsa is a matric learner whose responsibility is bigger than what her parents imagined. She is now not the child to Themba and Siweziwe (her parents) only but a child to the whole community. The community is also proud of her especially to some community members whose children never made it so far due to early pregnancies, lack of finances, drugs etc. You would hear MaDlamini a neighbour saying “ Shine my girl shine, if you need assistance with your studies come to me”, forgetting that she only ended in standard 8 back in 1989.
She leaves very early in the morning and comes home very late from school. Her parents are worried that they see their daughter less but they make sure that when she gets home her food is readily warm in the coal stove oven. She tries at least to do some house chores on Saturday mornings before she packs her school bag and step out of the gate. She even misses Sunday services but the Priest never forgets to request the congregation to pray for Matric students as this is the difficult time for them.
Nomsa’s dream is not only to better herself but to fullfill her family dreams. Her father’s words meant that she should pass this matric with distinctions so that she can get bursary/funds to enroll for her CA degree. To be a matric learner to Nomsa means to work hard so she can improve her parent’s lifestyle. She wants her parents to have hope, so when they see that vivid rainbow poking through the clouds they should know that soon the rain is about to end and sun will shine.
Nomsa represents all other matric learners who are in rural areas and townships of South Africa. Nomsa represents the matric learners who will be writing their Final NSC exams 2015 .
Good luck to 2015 Matriculants, exams start 19 October 2015.
*Characters not their real names