Anza was not a very bright girl and she had to work extra hard just to get a mediocre pass mark. Her mother was a stay-in domestic worker and she only came to see them once a month when she got her weekend off.

Anza was the second born. Her brother, Imani, was the first born and her little sister Phuti was the last born. She carried the world on her shoulders and it was too much for her. She played the role of a mother to both her big brother and little sister. She was the one who cooked, washed and took care of all the household chores.

Despite the overwhelming workload on her hands, Anza still found time to study and get her average mark, although sometimes she would fall off the wagon and get below average. She worked hard on her studies, harder than most of her peers. She would dream about getting the highest mark in class or being part of the top ten in her grade or even in the school. When she told her friends this, they laughed at her and told her that she was a big dreamer and that she should be realistic with her dreams.

This made Anza even more determined. “What is wrong with me? Why shouldn’t I be the best there is?” She began pushing herself a little more every day, a little more and a little more until she was above average, getting above 50% and then above 60%. This went on at a steady increase and even the teachers noticed and commended her on her good work. Some of her friends were jealous of her because she was now above them.

Their class teacher, Mrs Khuzwayo, gave them a surprise test every month to boost their marks. It was on random days so that the learners could not cram the dates. She picked one Wednesday in October and said: “Surprise test today!” The class was not impressed and moaned “ahhhhh noooo!!!”

To make a long story short, the test was written and the learner that got the most marks was Anza with a total of 95%. She was number one in the top 10 in her class for that month. From that day on, Anza was the best learner at her school and from grade to grade she excelled and was the school representative in reading and spelling competitions. She gave speeches, she assisted and mentored her peers and she proved that if your mind is set, no matter your circumstances and shortcomings, you can achieve anything.

Anza passed all her subjects with distinctions in matric and got a bursary to further her studies at an institution of her choice. She graduated cum laude and has never stopped learning. She is currently doing her Master’s degree in Psychology. She is the owner of Spandex, the biggest entertainment company in Cape Town. She is working on opening a home for orphaned children, especially young girls that she wants to empower and mentor.

Her mother is now retired and lives in a 12-roomed house and has a maid working for her. She is very proud of her daughter but regrets not being there for her: “My child has been a strong woman from a very young age and I regret that I was never much of a mother to her. I think that is what gave her the most strength”.

Anza believes that through hard work, anything is possible: “Not all of us are born geniuses, but we can work at it until we get it right”.