MySchool Dream School - Meet the kids

By Kirstin Buick
11 October 2013

HERE they are – the 15 kids chosen from across South Africa to take part in M-Net’s MySchool Dream School, a reality show that aims to get them back into an education system they believe has failed them


The show is a spin-off of Jamie’s Dream School, a project started in the UK by renowned chef and socially conscience personality Jamie Oliver, who brought in inspirational people from various walks of life to share their knowledge and skills with a group of disillusioned teens. SA’s version of Dream School has followed suit, pulling out the stops in the hope of creating star pupils from a group of drugdabblers, teen moms and dropouts. Personalities such as Freshlyground’s Zolani Mahola, cricketer-turned-coach Paul Adams and Jonathan Jansen, the University of the Free State’s highly respected rector, will give the kids crash courses in their respective fields.

No one will fail but at the end of the series the most deserving learners will be rewarded with internships and scholarships that could turn their lives around. Some of the teens come from situations so dire Dream School could be their last hope – but will they prove too far gone to be saved?

“School is just too much work. I don’t want to be there.” - NATASHA (17)

Natasha, who lives in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town, with her mom and sister is repeating Grade 10 but has high hopes of getting a good education.

Hobbies: Listening to music, singing, dancing and modelling.

Favourite subject: Business studies

Least favourite: Geography and history

In the future she’d like to: “Study to be a coroner or anything in the medical field. Or maybe a journalist.”

“At school I fight with boys. I hit all of them. Some of them cry.” - NOORUN-NISAA (17)

Noorun-Nisaa comes from Manenberg in Cape Town, an area plagued by gang violence, where getting an education comes second to staying alive. She’s in Grade 11.

Hobbies: Eating, sleeping, acting crazy

Favourite subjects: English, life sciences,maths

Least favourite: Afrikaans, business studies

In the future she’d like to: “Study further and become successful.”

“My ancestors started calling me. People thought I was crazy but I had to answer them to find my hidden talents.” - ZAMA (19)

Soweto teenager Zama left school during her Grade 10 year, when visions of her ancestors distracted her from her schoolwork. She dropped out to begin her training as a traditional healer.

Hobbies: Watching TV, chilling with friends and listening to music.

Favourite subject: Maths, science, business studies and life orientation.

Least favourite: Geography

In the future she’d like to: “Further my studies in something that has to do with media and business. And practice as a sangoma.”

“My parents wanted me to go back to mainstream school, but I didn’t take the initiative and actually go look for a school.” - THANDEKA (19)

Thandeka, who hails from Soweto, was in Grade 10 when she discovered she was pregnant. She dropped out to have her baby and hasn’t gone back.

Hobbies: Writing, singing and playing sports.

Favourite subject: English

Least favourite: Maths

In the future she’d like to: “Study journalism or media studies.”

“It’s hard for me because I don’t really talk. It’s just . . . I’m really shy.” - TREVOR (17)

Trevor from Montclair, Durban dropped out of his high school after repeating Grade 10. Teachers told him he needed to go to a special school, which didn’t help his disillusionment.

Hobbies: Bike riding and playing computer games.

Favourite subject: CAT (computer applications technology) and maths.

Least favourite: Afrikaans and life orientation.

In the future he’d like to: Become a commercial diver.

“Maybe it’s me . . . I don’t know. I hate being in the same grade as younger children.” - SIMPHIWE (16)

Simphiwe, who is from Langa in Cape Town, doesn’t believe he needs a matric certificate to pursue his dream of becoming a rapper. King Cypher, as he wants to be known, is repeating Grade 10 and, as one of the older kids in the class, is battling to fit in.

Hobbies: Rapping, producing, eating, clothing design.

Favourite subject: Music

Least favourite: Maths

In the future he’d like to: “Rap, produce and learn how to DJ. I’d practice every day. I also want to learn how to design clothes.”

“I got behind with my school work. I just wasn’t coping.” - WAUNITA (17)

A motorbike accident kept Waunita out of the classroom for a while and resulted in her falling behind in her schoolwork. The teenager of Pretoria North battled depression and started self-harming and eventually dropped out of school in Grade 9. Since then she’s been doing a part-time photography course.

Hobbies: Hockey, singing, photography and acting.

Favourite subject: Drama

Least favourite: Maths

In the future she’d like to: “Study, go overseas and become famous.”

“I don’t like school anymore – I’m surrounded by the younger generation. I lie and tell people I’m in matric.” - LIHLE (18)

Lihle from Khayelitsha, Cape Town, teen is repeating Grade 10 for the second time. He was often caught bunking and smoking weed.

Hobbies: Playing soccer.

Favourite subject: Business studies and economics.

Least favourite: Maths

In the future he’d like to: “Own a business or be a professional soccer player.”

“I wish I was a cat so I could eat and sleep and do nothing else.” - VINCENT (15)

Vincent, who hails from Tableview in Cape Town, dropped out of school earlier this year after he and a group of friends were bust for smoking weed.

Hobbies: Soccer and cricket.

Favourite subject: Art and music.

Least favourite: Maths, Afrikaans and science.

In the future he’d like to: “Become a DJ or graphic designer.”

“I’m lazy sometimes. It’s hard. Sometimes I’ll have good days, sometimes not.” - MASI (17)

Masi, who comes from Woodstock in Cape Town, has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is dyslexic. He is currently repeating Grade 10.

Hobbies: Sports, chilling and dancing.

Favourite subject: Life orientation, CAT, tourism, maths and consumer studies.

Least favourite: isiXhosa, English.

In the future he’d like to: “Become a chef. But not any chef – a pastry chef.”

“I like to bunk school. I can’t concentrate.” - KEAGAN (15)

He battles to concentrate in class, says Keagan, who lives in from Kempton Park, Joburg. He is repeating Grade 8.

Hobbies: Ice-skating, rugby and cricket.

Favourite subject: Afrikaans

Least favourite: Maths

In the future he’d like to: “Become a radio presenter.”

“I wasn’t getting money for lunch. I wasn’t about to go to school hungry.” - TSHEPO (19)

Struggling to deal with the death of both his parents, Tshepo stopped going to school after Grade 9. He lives with his sister in Soweto.

Hobbies: Cooking, cleaning and dancing.

Favourite subject: English

Least favourite: None

In the future he’d like to: “Learn more about dancing and business.”

“I’ve been independent most of my life. I never got the chance to just be a kid.” - MONIQUE (18)

After having been to 16 schools, Monique, who comes from Brackenfell in Cape Town, dropped out in Grade 10. She now lives alone and works in a bar to support herself.

Hobbies: Running, dancing and collecting lighters.

Favourite subject: Maths

Least favourite: Business studies

In the future she’d like to: “Become an archaeologist."

“When you talk to the teachers about your problems, if they’re mad at you they’ll throw all that stuff in your face. I talk to no one.” - CHENIQUE (15)

She’d love to become a doctor one day, says Chenique, who comes from Hanover Park on the Cape Flats. Unfortunately she is currently failing Grade 9 and says the teachers refuse to help her.

Hobbies: Netball and music.

Favourite subject: Maths

Least favourite: Everything except maths.

In the future she’d like to: “Study to become a doctor. Or maybe an airhostess or a judge.”

“We have a lot of problems. I bunk a lot but the teachers don’t give me the help I need.” - NURAAN (16)

Nuraan lives with her grandmother in Hanover Park on the Cape Flats and is struggling her way through Grade 9. Hobbies: Sports Favourite subject: Life orientation Least favourite: Maths In the future I’d like to: “Become a social worker. I want to help people.”

Catch  MySchool Dream School every Sunday at 5 pm on M-Net, M-Net HD, Mzanzi Magic and M-Net Series Channel.

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