Melikhaya Songca

School: Chris Hani Arts and Culture High School
Based: Khayelitsha, Western Cape

I was born in East London and spent few years in Butterworth, both in the Eastern Cape. I then moved to Khayelitsha, in the Western Cape, where I started grade 1, and my mother and I then moved to Samora Machel close to Philippi, also in the Western Cape, and that’s where I grew up – a dusty community where everything is upside down, inside out, and other way around.

Samora Machel is community like any other Black community with social ills, accepted negative norms and distracting activities, which derail and delay the future of young people with great potential. I grew up under peer pressure: alcoholism, womanising, gangsters, drugs, and alcohol abuse. I grew up in a household with difficult financial circumstances, and I learned later in life about the beauty of this world, the amazing skills one can acquire, the possible opportunities, programmes that can build a person to conquer the world.

It took me years to understand that education can transform and develop leaders who can change this world. I am a very organised person, good hearted and family orientated. My vision is to leave this world with a mark that I was here and that I made a change in someone’s life. I want to carry in change in our communities, I want to ignite light in those dusty dark streets through changing our people’s perspective and instilling a positive mindset for everyone to be who they really are rather than who they have settled to be.

At first, I wanted to be a motivational speaker. Well, that dream is still possible! I was then advised to be a teacher through my good presentation and courage to help in high school, but I ignored the call with the stereotype that teachers earn less money. But, after listening to speakers like Suli Breaks and Les Brown, I came into my senses that a well-lived life is not about money, but a person must ensure what he loves the most, go to work in the field he enjoys, and come back home feeling energised because he loves what he does.

Without any hesitation I accepted the call and I enrolled for a bachelor’s degree at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I knew and understood that it will be a great platform for me to live my dreams and to touch the souls of young people, to build knowledge, to speak and change lives. Where I grew up, we had no mentors, no career guides, and no one we could call a positive role model.

I became a teacher to deliver service to our communities by bringing in good education that can change young people to be better, to do better in their communities, and be good responsible citizens of our beloved country.

I have been teaching for few years and my goal now is to obtain an executive position in the Department of Basic Education. Not for money or fame, but I want to be part of the decision making. Why? Because we (teachers) are living under stress and burnout due to policies that are not relevant to the problems that we are facing in our schools, curriculum that is too late and too slow in adapting to these challenges, and we have too much admin that supersedes the teaching and learning time. I want to change that.

I became a teacher to develop a curriculum that can give learners the necessary skills to find solutions to the challenges that our people face, so that we can make this country, and this world, a better place to live in.

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