Meet Zizipho. Zizipho is a Spirit Foundation Alumnus who matriculated from Claremont High School in 2013. Since finshing school, Zizipho has been studying Occupational Therapy at the University of Cape Town and was awarded a partial bursary through the Dell Young Scholarship Programme, as well as through ASSET (The Association for Educational Transformation). Zizipho recently joined us on the annual Spirit Foundation camp along with other Spirit Foundation Alumni who volunteered their time for three days as camp leader and mentors to the Spirit Foundation Scholars. We chatted to Zizi about her experience as a leader on the camp, her reflections on her time as a Spirit Foundation Scholar and the encouragement she would like to give to the Spirit Foundation Scholars, her fellow Spirit Foundation Alumni and to other young South Africans. Here is what she had to say…
Spirit Foundation: Zizi, what were some of the highlights for you as a Spirit Foundation Scholar?
Zizipho: I was actually only a Spirit Foundation Scholar for one year as I was awarded my scholarship at the beginning of my matric year. One of my most memorable moments would have to be the 2013 Spirit Foundation camp at High Africa. I was new, and everbody else already had friends, but but by the time I left I had made so many new friends, it was such an amazing camp! I had so much fun and the facilitators and other scholars were so friendly and welcoming that I felt I had a new family. I think that’s where I learnt to have some confidence in myself and face challenges head on.
SF: We were impressed that even though you were a Spirit Foundation Scholar for only one year, you have still taken the opportunity to give back to the Spirit Foundation through investing your time in the lives of the current Spirit Foundation Scholars. Tell us a bit about the Spirit Foundation camp that you recently attended – how was it to be there as a leader and mentor to the current Spirit Foundation Scholars?
Z: The camp was absolutely amazing. I enjoyed engaging with the exciting activities with the scholars and learning new things with them. I helped facilitate some of the activities, helped with venue set up, monitoring rooms and most importantly answering questions that the scholars had about life and varsity. I had many interesting conversations with scholars and tried to give the best answers possible. The camp was an amazing space for growth – not only for the Scholars but for the Alumni too. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of it!
SF: What impact do you feel you are having as a change-maker amongst your friends, family and community?
Z: I try each and every day to change the lives of those around me through little acts of kindness. Everywhere I go I try to be a good role model in the hope that I will influence someone’s life and uplift them. I also try to mentor high school scholars as I often feel that the mentorship programmes that are in place place their primary focus on academics (which is of course important) but don’t always look at the person as a whole. I feel that in order for one to perform brilliantly at school you need to have a good state of well-being, which is also what the Spirit Foundation granted me in my matric year by securing my school fees and removing that financial stress.
SF: What makes you a role model to your peers?
Z: I am strong, hard-working and I persevere. I always tell my peers that giving up is not on my to-do list and that no matter how difficult a situation might seem, there is always a way out. I am a fighter – through every challenge that life throws at me, I fight back. Yes, sometimes I fall, but I am strong enough to pick myself up and try again.
SF: What is your message of encouragement to the Spirit Foundation Scholars and other young South Africans?
Z: Life is going to throw challenges your way, but do not give up and lose hope.. Soldier on!
SF: Do you have a message of encouragement to your fellow Spirit Foundation Alumni?
Z: You will not always win but that does not mean give up, try harder. While doing so, do not forget to uplift those who are in need of your knowledge – give them what you wish you had while you were still in high school. None of us know what tomorrow has in store for us but let’s use today as much as we can, and before giving up we must remember why we started and where we want to be. Nothing worth having comes easy!
I would also like to say thank you to the Spirit Foundation for the role they played in my life by giving me the opportunity to focus on my studies without stressing about how my fees were going to be paid and affording me the opportunity to be part of such an amazing family. I will be forever grateful.
The Spirit Foundation is grateful for amazing Alumni like Zizipho who are making a difference in the lives of our Spirit Foundation Scholars and those around them. The saying ‘dynamite comes in small packages’ certainly rings true with this remarkable woman, well done and thank you Zizi!