It’s been twelve years! My mother and father both experienced the grossly dehumanising effects of being people of colour in Apartheid South Africa. Under the Apartheid colour Bar Acts, and other employment restrictions imposed on non-white people, the most prestigious professions “coloured” people were allowed to pursue was teaching or nursing, with few exceptions. As a result of the job reservation policies of the time, both my parents became high school teachers at public schools on the Cape Flats and have remained in the teaching profession for over 30 years to date. Given the nature of the conditions under which they lived and worked, teachers from this time and place believed their role to be of great importance.
When I received the Kay Mason Foundation Scholarship in my second year of High School, the financial burden of my school fees was lifted off my parents’ shoulders and I was able to receive a good education in the public schooling system at no cost to them. In addition to the material benefits of the foundation, which was in its infancy at the time, I also became exposed to a world much bigger and more complex than the one I had come from. The KMF taught me how to interact and relate to persons and environments which would have remained alien to me otherwise. As a KMF scholar, I was able to gain insight into the many varied projects Richard Mason (Founder) and his team were undertaking at any given time. I was privileged enough to attend the Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards Ceremony in 2010 where Richard was rewarded for his efforts and unfailing humanitarian spirit.
Shortly after leaving Livingstone High School in 2008, I spent some months involved in tutoring and mentoring younger KMF scholars. I went on to graduate with a BA in Politics and Philosophy from UCT in 2012, and an Honours degree with a specialisation in Justice and Transformation from UCT in 2013 where I was also awarded the AW Mellon Scholarship Award. I enrolled for an MA in political studies at UCT and received the NRF Master’s Innovation Scholarship Award, and subsequently spent time teaching at various institutions of higher learning across the country including UNISA, UWC, and UCT. I hope to become a researcher and academic in the very near future and continue a legacy of teaching and learning which my parents and the KMF hold so dear. In this way, I hope to contribute to solving the educational crisis which South Africa currently finds itself in, and for which we are collectively responsible.