The Graduate; A boy from a village

Everyone has a story to tell, I was born in a small village in Limpopo (Ga-molepo), but my parents resided in Gauteng. So I have spent my life moving in between the two provinces growing up. Attended a catholic school in primary and moved back to Gauteng at the age of 15. Although I have been given a taste of what kasi life is like during school vacations, it was a whole lot different living it full time. I got exposed to a lot of things, both good and bad. The hardest thing was staying on a righteous path, in a horrendous environment.

Kasi is not a good place to raise kids; it can either build or break you. I battled my way through high school, with hopes for a better future. I would share my teenage experiences which were amazing by the way but I will skip to life after I completed my matric. It is January 2016 just got my matric results and I’m screaming “Mama I made it”. While in school I had a desire to study media because I have always wanted to be on radio. It was either I study media or study law. Being on radio was a lifelong dream that I was determined to make a reality. I grew up listening to Thobela FM, while living in the village for a period of 3 to 4 years we had no electricity. Which meant we couldn’t watch tv, our only source of information was the radio. So my grandmother had this radio that used batteries, while we were at school she would charge them using solar, and then later at night during dinner we would all listen to the mini-drama series that played daily during the week. I lived with almost all my uncles, aunties, and cousins, we were a big family. My love for radio is tied to the first gift my grandmother bought me, it was a blue stereo with earphones that used a mini battery. Being on radio was a village boy’s dream.

How do I explain that I want to study media to my mother, I mean she is only a cashier. While still contemplating, reality hit me hard that I have no money to go further my studies. I turn to my father for help, the man tells me to look for work and forget about school. He is unable to fund my studies. Bear in mind that my parents are separated but never divorced. My mother has been a single mother since I was 5 years old. I am deeply hurt by my father’s response.

So my guardian angel comes to the rescue like she did all those years. She tells me to ‘go look for school because being home and doing nothing will destroy me’ she said. I did as instructed and found a school that offered me a 12 months short program for law; paralegal to be specific. It cost around 30k. I would have studied for a degree in any public university, but it was during the uprising of the #FEESMUSTFALL movement. The fees were too much! I didn’t think my mother would afford to pay, but she did her best. Spend her life savings and even took out a loan, all for me.

On top of that, she had to give me transport money almost every day. 2016 is the year I realized life can be hard and poverty is real. Growing up I never felt poor, but after school life got real. We struggled through the first year of college, and I passed all my modules. I rejoiced so much because now I was a qualified paralegal, even though I had to graduate in absentia due to lack of money at home. Although I made it again a part of me still wanted to pursue media studies, however, who was to sponsor my academic journey?

Writer: /PP.Selolo