30 May 2022

Ntimba (24) is the first and only graduate in her family. She received an academic excellence award for Best Initial Degree and a cash prize of R10 000 for her sterling academic performance. She says teaching has always been her childhood dream.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher, an agent of transformation who makes a difference in learners’ lives. As Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. This is one of the reasons I studied teaching because I want to contribute to making that change,” she says.

After completing matric in 2015, Ntimba applied to study at UMP but could not pursue her studies due to financial constraints. But a call from the university changed her life. In 2016, she worked at a fruit farm to raise money to pay off the registration fee.  However the money was not sufficient, so she could not register.

“One of the joyful moments was when I received communication that I was accepted at UMP and they offered me a bursary to study teaching. I saw the opportunity as an escape from poverty. I worked hard to never jeopardise that opportunity. Being educated for me means that I can work, support my family, and live a better life.”

Motivated to excel

Ntimba comes from a township called Naas, and was raised by a single parent who sells vegetables for a living. She says growing up in a disadvantaged background motivated her to study harder to make a change in her life and that of her seven siblings.

Throughout her years at UMP, this high achiever has been a top performer receiving merits every year and was appointed as a Peer Tutor in Siswati and Mathematics, helping other students to achieve good grades.

“In 2019, 2020 and 2021, I was among the top 10 students and received R5 400. I sent the money home to assist where there is a need. In the 2018 intake, I received merit cash prizes yearly for academic excellence. To achieve excellence, one needs to be committed, competent, confident, passionate, and take ownership.”

She adds: “My biggest inspiration to be where I am today is my deprived background, family, high school teachers and hard work to never lose the bursary. I excelled because I wanted to set an example for my siblings and other youngsters that you should never let your background determine your future," she adds.

“It all pays off after all the hard work, struggles, downfalls and sleepless nights. Words that motivated me to work hard are from the famous poet and inspirational speaker, Maya Angelou, who said, ‘Nothing will work unless you do', meaning you need to work hard to achieve.”

Ntimba is currently searching for a teaching job. She plans to register towards a Bachelor of Education Honours Degree in 2023.

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures supplied.