NONHLANHLA, 22 CAPE TOWN, SA
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My name is Nonhlanhla Mohlaba, a fourth year student at UCT studying towards an LLB. I’m originally from Limpopo but it is safe to call Cape Town my home as I have been here for so long. Because I’ve felt out of place for a long time, I’ve only started to enjoy Cape Town fairly recently – it’s a strange thing to many people. One of the reasons why Cape Town has stopped being a place of gloom and has become a place of many opportunities can be attributed to the realisation and articulation of my dreams and goals.
This is something I was forced to do when I joined RE. I had to write a vision – the hardest thing I had to do at the time. It made me sit down and think: I knew I wanted to help people but I had to put down into words so those words can become a reality. Now I know for sure that I want to be involved in social justice, in social development (more youth development). Not only did RE manage to change my gloom into sunshine but it has also given me the opportunity to get involved in youth development through its Mentorship Programme. It brings me joy to have the opportunity to be involved with young people who have a zest for life and are willing to work hard to make their dreams a reality. It proves stereotypes wrong! And I love this about RE – we get to prove stereotypes wrong: it doesn’t matter where you come from and your circumstances don’t define who and what you are or ought to be – with hard work and a little bit of encouragement anything can be done. Being a mentor in training can be scary at times but I’m definitely excitement more often than not about this journey.The biggest lesson I’ve learnt since joining RE is that you cannot wait for everything to be perfect before you start. We use the ‘perfect circumstances’ excuse far too often and quite frankly it’s not even a valid excuse. You need to get down and start, even if you don’t know where you’re going to end up. Just start. The rest will be sorted as things unfold. When you have a team like RE behind you, you’re definitely covered. A failure is not an opportunity for you to throw the towel in, it’s an opportunity for you to get back on your horse and ride towards the sunrise.