Local girl from Oprah school has big plans

2011-12-05 00:00

“IT is a place where young girls will have the opportunity to improve the quality of life for their sisters and for generations to come.”

Those words from media mogul Oprah Winfrey at the opening of her Leadership Academy in 2007 have stuck in the mind of pupil Debra Ngcobo (18).

Ngcobo is one of the 11 KwaZulu-Natal girls in the academy’s first matric class and returned from Johannesburg to her home in Durban’s Ntuzuma township yesterday.

“I am very happy to see my family since I have been away at school for so long …” said Ngcobo.

She vividly remembers the first day she was interviewed by Winfrey in 2006, as well as the pain of losing her father when she was just four and her mother later in 2004.

Ngcobo was then raised by her grandmother, who died in October last year.

“It was very hard writing my Grade 11 finals after just losing my granny, who has been with me all along.… I have my aunt and my cousins now and the support I have been getting from the school also helps,” she said.

Fifteen of the matriculants will attend the University of Cape Town and seven will attend Wits University. Nine will attend the University of Pretoria, 13 are headed to University of Johannesburg, 21 to Rhodes University, one will study at Stellenbosch University, one at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, three at the Tshwane University of Technology and one at the Cape Town University of Technology.

Ngcobo is one of the 10 girls who have their hearts set on studying abroad.

“If I pursue my tertiary education in the U.S. I am going to be studying pre-law and political science. I hope to study at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. However, if I remain in South Africa, I will be studying at UCT …”

• thandiwe.jumo@witness.co.za

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