She wields the whip

Sibongiseni Sigoda and Oval North High School Deputy Principal Nazeem Jacobs. PHOTO: Samantha Lee
Sibongiseni Sigoda and Oval North High School Deputy Principal Nazeem Jacobs. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Her discipline puts her in the perfect position to keep the Junior City Council (JCC) house in order.

Sibongiseni Sigodi,16, a learner from Oval North High School was recently voted in as the Junior Chief Whip about a fortnight ago.

She has been part of the JCC for the past few years and was nominated to run for the executive by school Principal Na-aem Kassiem­.

“He knows the student that I am and the leadership skills I have,” she says. “Because I love politics, it was not difficult to prepare for the elections.”

The teen, from Khayelitsha was raised by a single mother and says her discipline started at home.

“My mother is very strict and there is discipline. I have a strong character and I know that I have what it takes to be the Junior Chief Whip. I was the first one to speak at the election. I was the first to speak and I was so nervous, but I knew myself ... I did my speech and I got the most votes. It was the best day of my life. People recognise my leadership skills,” she says.

“I chose this position because I am a calm person who does not take things personally. This was perfect for me.”

The role of the chief whip is to enforce discipline, a value instilled by her mother, Nokuzola­.

“My strength comes from my mother. She was a head girl at high school and a protest leader. She also trains and motivates me. She says: ‘My girl if you want to follow your dreams, you have my full support.’

This made me want to follow in my mother’s footsteps,” she says.

She has the support of so many in the area by upholding the name of both her schools.

“When my mom found out I was elected, she was in tears and so overwhelmed.

I am the product of Imperial Primary School and now also of Oval North High School. My mother and my teachers were all so proud.

I am upholding the name of the schools and at Oval I am trying my best to do that,” she says.

She says looks forward to studying politics after she completes school and wants to make a difference.

“Automatically, I want to study politics and I want to be a servant of the people,” she says.

“Although the JCC is not a political forum, I am hoping to learn more about local government, to give me a chance to learn about(the) provincial and then even national government(aspects).”

Her message to the youth is to stand up and make their voices heard.

“Some are too scared to stand up for their rights ... They are fine being second best.

Only because they are too scared to speak in public. I have(the)confidence to speak to thousands. As president Cyril Ramaphosa said, ‘send me’.

In my township, it is so sad to see many girls fall pregnant in high school and then drop-out ... I want to encourage them to stay in school,” she says.

“To the youth, I want to say that we are all future leaders and others are looking to us to make a difference.

Our circumstances do not predict our success and where we end up,” she says.

Her role in the JCC will also be used as a platform to impact on the youth and motivate them to do better. She said she was grateful to her principal, teachers, mother and everyone else for their support in her journey. Deputy Principal Nazeem Jacobs says they are very proud of Sigodi for being elected to the JCC.

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