A proud mother with an even prouder first-grader (Ipeleng, right, with her older sister) on her first day at school
Find out about the person behind the student and scholarship holder:
My name is Ipeleng Queen Malefsane Kgatle. I am from a township in Johannesburg called Tembisa. I am one of four children. I have an older sister and brother and one younger brother, and they all live with my parents in Tembisa.
South Afrfica in general is a beautiful country with beautiful cultures and diversity. It is a country filled with people that believe in the spirit of togetherness, Ubuntu, ‘I am because you are’. I am from the township and the townships are filled with people who are not wealthy but are constantly fighting to get out of poverty. Most of the young people in South Africa go to study in universities but struggle to find jobs after completing their studies, unfortunately increasing the level of poverty in our townships. Sadly, crime has taken over my beautiful country as a result of poverty. Most families in the townships and villages cannot afford basic needs and so, most of the youngsters take matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, poverty is a story of many as there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor, with the middle class are mostly strangled by debts.
Growing up, I spent most of my time at church, the Lutheran church. This acted as a moulding factor in my life. From Sunday school through to the youth league and the church choir. I started singing there and was always involved in all the church activities that took place there. I got to learn a lot about myself while in a protected and loving environment, and this afforded me growth as a young lady growing up in Tembisa.
I started my schooling in Hammanskraal, a small township in the north of Gauteng. My sister and I at that time lived there with my grandparents while my parents were working in Johannesburg. Two years later, we moved to Tembisa, Johannesburg and studied at Tersia King Learning Academy, where I completed my high school studies. This was also a place that inspired me to be whatever I wanted to become as I was always involved in every activity the school could offer, drama, choir, solo singing, Marimba, Line dancing and Lego. These experiences broadened my mind to the opportunities the world could offer.