SSP Recruitment and Academic Director, Lucky Letshabo met an extraordinary child, Anayolo whose primary school in Qomfo in the Eastern Cape, has a mere 21 children and she teaches the Grade 1s when she finishes her Grade 7 classes! He and SSP Executive Director Nozizwe Vundla with SSP SPO Sheri-Ann van Wyk, met her. He tells us more….
Because of how dynamic and busy SSP is, as staff members, we seldom sit back and appreciate the outcomes of our efforts and the wonderful work we do. All our potential scholars go through extreme sacrifices to get onto our books.
The scholars go through;
- A screening of applications (in 2018 it was a total of
- An English and Math entrance tests (the benchmark is 70% and above)
- Aptitude test (also 70% and above )
- EQ and a self-assessment test
- Social and financial interviews
- A finalist orientation camp
This is an intense 10- month process for any potential candidate, but more so for the extraordinary young lady I met over the weekend.
When Anayolo (Xhosa for ‘they are joyful’) qualified for our Programme and was a recipient of a full scholarship, there was nothing out of the ordinary. That was until I did a background check on her, as I do with all our scholars. The first odd thing is that her primary school didn’t exist, well – according to Google, that is.
Anayolo is from a tiny village called Qomfo, some 100km outside of King Williams’s Town. It is so isolated, that even the traffic police that I asked for directions, did not know of it. Her primary school has a total of 21 scholars, from Grade 1 to 7. She is one of two Grade 7s. The staff complement consists of a principal and two other teachers. When I asked how teaching gets done, she casually replied; “I teach the Grade 1s when I finish my work.” I was flabbergasted.
Anayolo lives a stone’s throw away from her primary school with her maternal aunt and her gogo, both of whom are unemployed. Coming from literally out of nowhere, when asked how they found about SSP and the scholarships we offer, it turns out her aunt saw an advert and application forms in the King Williamstown library, which had been dropped off by Sheri-Ann van Dyk of SSP in the Eastern Cape.
Her aunt explained the difficulty of their travels to and from East London for the different testing phases, using public transport and even having to hire private transportation. She said it was all worth it and they were more than happy to make the sacrifices. I asked Anayolo what her reaction was when she found out that she’d been awarded a full scholarship. “I was excited but nervous. I was excited about the scholarship, but nervous about living away from home.” She also said that she was keen to make new friends.
I was so impressed by this bright, young lady. Her stature, articulation, confidence and maturity was striking. I was taken aback by what this woman has already achieved and have really high hopes for this star, who says she wants to become a doctor. What was even more surprising – was learning that Anayolo was a year younger than her peers, which is remarkable considering how well she did in all the different tests. This speaks to her maturity.
Anayolo will be going to one of our partner schools, Clarendon High School for Girls, as a boarder. The school had better watch out, they will have a big task on their hands because there’s a bright star headed your way.
It was an extraordinary day in the office, one that made me a proud ambassador of this organization but also filled me with a great sense of pride and positive optimism for the future of this country.
Anayolo is the personification of SSP, she is the reason that organizations like ours exist and it is encouraging to see that we are reaching all those that are deserving of our scholarships.