Precious, a Grade 11 learner, grew up in a small township where her grandmother raised her. Precious was a talented presenter; she always had her way around presenting. Her language teachers were also aware of that.
Precious’s principal announced a presentation competition one morning. Learners were so excited and eager to enter. Precious was too shy and didn’t know whether she should enter or not. She had low self-esteem, and was afraid of being judged for coming from a poor family.
After the principal’s speech, learners went to their classes. Precious’s English teacher Mrs Swanepoel went to her class to talk to her.
“Precious,” she yelled.
“Yes Mam,” she replied.
“I want to talk to you, let’s go to my office,” said Mrs Swanepoel and Precious followed.
“I assume you heard the principal’s speech today,” asked her teacher.
“Yes, I did Mam,” she answered.
“I want you to enter the competition my child, I know you have all it takes to win,” her teacher said.
“No mam, I can’t, I won’t be able to afford the trip, and besides I have to look after my granny,” she said.
“Precious, this is going to be a great opportunity for you! I want you to go out there and show them what you’re capable of. If you need money for the trip I’ll provide you with money,” said Mrs Swanepoel.
Precious did not know if she wanted to take the opportunity or not, but after Mrs Swanepoel convinced her, she decided to do so. After school hours she went home and discussed this with her grandmother. Her grandmother agreed, but Precious needed someone to look after her granny during times of the rehearsals for the presentation.
Precious went to her aunt who lived in the neighbourhood. She knocked on her aunt’s door.
“Hello Mmane, Aunt Toki,” she greeted.
“Hello Precious, how can I help you?”
“Well auntie, I was nominated to be the one of people who’ll be going to the presentation competition next week, so I was hoping that you could help me with looking after Gogo while I do rehearsals after school,” Precious said.
Her aunt replied and said, “Why did they choose you? Do you have money to pay for the competition, who’ll pay for you? What do you know about presentations?”
Precious was deeply hurt because she knew that her aunt was about to disagree.
“I won’t be able to do so. I’ve got a job, and besides why would I be supporting this stupid thing of yours?”
Precious left her aunt’s house with a broken heart. She went back home and locked herself in the bedroom and cried. Her grandmother heard her and knocked on her door.
“Preci, what’s wrong my girl? Open up for me please,” her grandmother asked. Precious opened for her. They both sat down on the bed.
“What’s wrong my girl?” asked her gran.
“Gogo aunt Tokisho refused to look after you. Now I have to cancel these rehearsals and forget about the competition,” said Precious. Her grandmother replied and said, “Don’t worry about me baby, I’ll look after myself. Just take this chance and go to show the world your talent.”
The rehearsals went on and on and the principal together with the other language teachers chose Precious to be the one who would represent the entire school. She was too excited and finally had confidence about revealing her talent. The day of the competition arrived. Early in the morning her grandmother woke up and waited for Precious to finish preparing herself.
Precious finished preparing herself and found her grandmother sitting in the kitchen.
“Precious my daughter please come closer, today you’re about to take a big step, please come so we pray for your big day,” she said. They both kneeled down and prayed. Shortly after praying they heard a car hooting. Precious looked through the window and noticed it was Mrs Swanepoel’s car.
“It’s Mrs Swanepoel’s car,” said Precious, “Bye Gogo.” She was running to her teacher’s car.
Precious and the teacher were outside the hall where the competition took place.
“Precious today is your big day, I want to know you’re ready to do this,” Mrs Swanepoel asked.
“Yes mam, I’m ready to do this,” she responded. They both went inside the hall; there were too many different people from all sorts of media houses and learners of different schools. Precious started becoming nervous. The competition started. Learners from different schools presented their different presentation and Precious did too.
As she was presenting, media presenters kept on asking Mrs Swanepoel about Precious and they seemed to be interested in her and willing to give her the opportunity to go about with her talent. Precious finished presenting and sat down. Other learners went on and presented. It was now time for results, Mrs Swanepoel stood next to Precious and you could see from far that Precious was scared.
It was now time to announce the top presenter; the hall went quiet. The judge called out and said, “The top presenter who is going home with a trophy and will be given opportunities to present on local radios and teenagers’ shows is,” said the the judge. He caught a breath and continued, “Precious Kekae!” Everyone in the hall clapped their hands and Precious was crying. Mrs Swanepoel hugged her as they went to collect the trophy.
On their way home Precious couldn’t stop thanking her teacher for the opportunity to show her talent. She dropped her off at the gate and left. Her grandmother was so excited and proud of her granddaughter as she entered with the trophy.
A week passed and Mrs Swanepoel received a call from a local radio wanting Precious to come over and present her very own first show. Mrs Swanepoel passed the news to her. She went there and presented her first show. People from her village were so excited to listen to her; others weren’t.
Her aunt went to visit them after the first show pretending to be happy. Precious’s grandma chased her away. As Precious was a step closer to finishing her matric, opportunities started coming her way. She was then able to provide for her family. Her grandmother couldn’t stop being proud of the things she did.
Tell us: How do you feel about Precious’ journey?