Plan B: She’ll dance her way through varsity

2009-11-21 14:56

A YARD full of people, loud music and ­children playing were things a top Soweto dancer had to contend with while trying to study for her matric exams.

The house in Klipspruit, Soweto, that Maleshwane Mohoasi (19) refers to as home is sandwiched between four shacks?– three at the back and one in front.

She shares one of the four shacks with her unemployed mother and two siblings.

“It is impossible to study at home ­because at any given time there will be at least 30 people in the yard – kids playing, music blaring – and generally it is not a place conducive to studying,” says Mohoasi, a learner at Emshukantambo High School in Pimville.

Such is her determination to be the first in her family to study at university that ­Mohoasi pleaded with authorities of a ­nearby school to allow her to use a classroom to study in the evenings.

Nomathemba Ngqebe, her English teacher, was shocked when Mohoasi told her about her circumstances.

“You have never mentioned these things to us,” Ngqebe said.

“Some things are hard to explain,” ­Mohoasi responded.

Mohoasi has applied to the University of the Witwatersrand to study meteorology next year.

She is determined to score better results in the exams than her current C symbols in maths and science and B in biology and geography when the results are announced on ­January 7.

Her mother has arthritis and the family depends on her monthly social grant to­ ­survive.

“My mother uses the grant for food and rent and to pay for my schooling, and it is not enough because we barely survive. I take this as my only chance to escape this life as my other sibling do not have jobs and I am the youngest,” she says.

­Mohoasi had a taste of the limelight in September this year as a lead dancer in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Fifa Confederations Cup.

And she continues to triumph over the odds against her. Two weeks ago she nailed an audition which would allow her to join the Moving Into Dance (MID) company.

She says her determination to change her circumstances is the driving force ­behind her success during the auditions.

“Getting the MID gig is like a form of ­insurance in that if I don’t get a bursary to further my studies I can use whatever money I earn as a dancer to pay my way through varsity,” she says.

Her school principal, Steve Nemakhavhani, says he expects 80% of the school’s 334 matriculants to pass.

He says that he is confident that the teachers’ efforts to ensure that the school ­remains among the top two in Soweto will work.

“If we don’t get 100% we can’t go below 80%. We had extra classes in the mornings and afternoons. We didn’t have school ­vacations this year. We also linked up with a former Model C school, Parktown Girls’ High, for assistance.

“They shared their material and expertise with our teachers, who went to the former Model C school every Wednesday to refresh their maths and science knowledge,” Nemakhavhani says.


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