FunDza interviewed 10 Fantastic FunDza Fanz! Meet Zinhle…

Zinhle Mlotshwa might only be fifteen years old – but she already knows the dedication she will need to achieve her dreams of becoming a dermatologist. 

Lions at bedtime

Zinhle grew up in a mountainous village in KwaZulu-Natal. Her childhood was spent outdoors in the sun. “We’ve got rivers and streams and beautiful mountains,” she explains. “Sometimes we went to the river when there was no water to [gather and] store water.”

After the sun had set, at bedtime, Zinhle’s mother would recount traditional Zulu folktales. Zinhle’s favourite story was about a lion. “There was this lion who ate children,” she recounts. “The mother of the children went inside the lion’s stomach and she made fire inside.” Once the fire grew, the mother and children were able to escape.

A courageous dream

The courage of that brave mother is reflected in Zinhle’s attitude to life today. Zinhle plans on becoming a dermatologist – and she knows the dedication that is needed to pursue this path.

Growing up, Zinhle suffered from stretch marks on her skin. She saw how people in her community struggled to get the healthcare that they needed. “People are struggling with money – especially those who live in rural areas,” she says. “I want them to get the opportunity to be treated. I didn’t because I don’t have money to treat these marks on my body.” 

Zinhle aims to finish matric with four distinctions and enrol at the University of Witwatersrand to study medicine in order to become a dermatologist. She dreams of providing healthcare freely to those in her community.  “My dream is to open my own hospital. It will be free: I don’t want anybody to pay money. I want to make my mother and late father proud.”

Reading is part of the plan

To achieve her goals, Zinhle knows that she must achieve well at school. Improving her reading and writing skills are critical if she is going to make the marks she needs. She has read “hundreds of stories” on FunDza, and she has noticed how it has built up her vocabulary and has improved her grades at school. 

This love for reading began early in Zinhle’s life, at the village primary school she attended. “From an early age … I always adored reading. I remember in Grade Six I used to collect books from the tiny school library.” 

Now in Grade 9, Zinhle attends high school near Nseleni township. “I get up at 5am to go to school,” she explains. Using a local taxi, it takes Zinhle an hour to get to school from her village. With her sights set on tertiary education, nothing seems to get in her way.

FunDza has allowed Zinhle to access motivational essays which buoy her dreams of studying further. She wants to share her experience with other children at school. “A lot of children at school don’t like reading,” Zinhle explains. “I want to tell children at school that there’s these phone [apps] where you can read novels.”

Sacrifice and courage

Much like the calculated risk that the mother took to enter the lion, Zinhle knows that her life plan will take sacrifice. “I know you have to study twelve years at university but I don’t have a problem [with that] … With God’s grace I know that I will become a dermatologist.” she ends. 

Armed with her life experiences and inspired by the wisdom of childhood folktales, Zinhle’s determination is unfaltering.

We asked Zinhle:

Why do you like reading on FunDza? 
What I like about reading on FunDza is that it’s helpful. I get to read words the authors shared and I can say it’s helpful. 

When is your favourite time to read on FunDza? 
At night. So you can say from 10 PM to 1 AM. The reason why I read late is because from 7 PM to 10 PM it’s when I’m watching TV. So from 10 PM to 1 AM I got quality time to spare. And it’s when it’s quiet at night.

What is your favourite thing to read on Funza? Or what is your favourite story on Funza? 
I’ve read maybe about more than 100 stories …I can say that my favourite story now
from these past few weeks is Team Trinity … It’s Fiona Snycker’s stories … they are fantastic. Yeah. A little bit romantic and horrific yeah.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time besides reading on FunDza?
Okay what I enjoy do in my spare time is …  listening to deep songs, I can say romantic songs. 

To read about the nine other FunDza Fanz, click here.