Maturity, hard work pay off for clear-sighted teen from E. Cape

2011-01-06 00:00

WELL spoken and down to earth, Abongile Nyokana (18) is one teenager who knows exactly what she wants out of life.

This matriculant of Raisethorpe Secondary is a step away from achieving her dream of becoming a civil engineer after scoring eight distinctions for her matric exams.

“I tried to maintain good results throughout my schooling, but I had to put a lot of effort into my work. I always plan to do well and excel in everything,” she told The Witness.

Nyokana did all this while also juggling the responsibility of acting as her younger siblings’ keeper.

“I am the eldest of five. My parents work in the Eastern Cape and come home every fortnight to check on us. But basically we are by ourselves and we get on with it.”

While her parents have made sure that there is always an adult present who cooks and cleans for the children, the teenager is the one who has had to act as the disciplinarian when her parents were not around.

“I have always been responsible and I think that is a result of mutual respect between me and my parents. I have always understood where I come from. Doing without a lot of things did not make me mad. It made me want to work harder.”

Nyokana worked part-time last year, and could then afford to buy herself an MP3 player. She was only allowed a cellphone the same year when she represented her school at a leadership programme in the U.S.

“… My motivation was doing well so that I could do things for myself and help my siblings.”

She is so serious about this that she even abandoned her dad’s advice to pursue medicine.

“It would work if I was the only child. But I have four other siblings after me and I can’t afford nine years on one degree. My youngest sister, who is in grade two, would be in grade 12 when I finish. There are a lot of factors to consider.”

Her parents said they moved their children to Pietermaritzburg to expose them to better education opportunities.

Nyokana is not at all worried about university life tainting her vision.

“Good values were instilled in me. I have practically been on my own all this time. I don’t think I’ll go on a freedom buzz now. My friends all knew that my curfew was 4 pm and that was something I decided.”

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