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Doing what alumni should: meet Zola Maphila

| August 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

There’s one sure-fire way to get students motivated: when they see someone just like them who’s done what needed to be done.

Reports Tammy Petersen for News24, the Grade 12 class of Christel House SA Senior in Ottery, Cape Town, in the Western Cape, is lucky to have alumna Zola Maphila around to inspire them on a daily basis. Reports Petersen, this 24-year old alumna was raised solely by her father.

All her life, Maphila’s dad sacrificed to ensure that she received a quality education. Fees at and transport costs to and from faraway schools meant that the wolf was always at the door.

Then Maphila’s father was retrenched when she was only in Grade 3. Maphila told Petersen: “He sat me down and explained he could no longer afford to pay for me to attend school. He promised me he would sort it out soon and until he did, I was to go to the local library every day and read.”

Every day in 2001, Maphila recalls, her father would take afternoons to tutor her in maths. “My dad wasn’t an educated man. He had passed Grade 4 when he dropped out to work and provide for his family. But he believed in the power of education. He wanted the best for me.”

It was a happy day in 2002 when the small family heard about ISASA member Christel House SA Junior and Senior, then in Athlone, Cape Town. Maphila was granted a place in Grade 5 after being assessed. Her hours in the library and with her father had paid off.

Maphila seized every opportunity at Christel House, which is now in Wetton and offers full scholarships, meals, transport, uniforms, textbooks and learning materials to impoverished children.

In Grade 12, she was named the valedictorian of her year. Speaking about her father and his boundless love for her was an emotional affair for everyone at the graduation ceremony.

The determined duo then set off to secure a place at Stellenbosch University, where Maphila wanted to study political science. They joined the registration queue with no money in their pockets. When the registrar heard her story and saw Maphila’s marks, she gained acceptance on the spot.

Sadly, reports Petersen, Maphila’s father passed away after her first year. Depression, hardship and loneliness conspired to drop her studies. Then she gathered her strength and asked for help. Now, as executive assistant to the CEO at Christel House SA Senior, she’s hitting the books part time to complete her degree whilst tutoring Grade 12 students at the school. Christel House is well known for its rigorous study programme, its committed students and teachers and its excellent results.

Maphila says, “I try to teach [students] to be proud of who they are and where they come from.”

Category: Spring 2016

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