I have always held the belief that even growing up in a small village in Flagstaff, Eastern Cape, and belonging to a poor family of the AmaNtshangase clan should not mean I am doomed to a life without a bright future in sight.
After matriculating, I was confronted with the all-too-familiar stumbling block of a registration fee that had to be paid at a university. During the early 90s, there was no NSFAS, so you can imagine the suffering was real for those who were as poor as the church mouse.
I then decided to drop out of school and seek employment. Fortunately, I managed to get a job under Armstrong Contractors in Kokstad, where I was to earn R1 085 a fortnight. I opened a savings account plan at Capitec Bank. I had to share my salary with my family and my younger brothers, who were under my guidance since my mother had passed on.
Luckily, when my mother passed on, I had covered her in my funeral policy, costing only R20 per month, which meant I was able to claim for the amount of R10 000 as cover for her funeral.
You must be wondering how I was able to share my salary with my family and my siblings. Well, here’s how it happened on a monthly basis… upon receiving my salary, I would take care of whatever needed to be taken care of at home and put away the rest in my savings account, with the aim being to eventually get into varsity. It soon dawned on me that I had saved too much money through the savings account, such that I was now able to pay the registration fee as well as the full course fee, and I couldn’t be happier! However, my plans were somewhat halted because, after realising that a female figure was needed to run an eye over the household, I took all my savings to pay for lobola, to ask for my partner’s hand in marriage. Double-edged sword! But my passion to get to university was still burning and I was not about to stop with saving money for this purpose. It’s never too late, I told myself.
Glad to let you know that I am currently studying at UNISA through the Capitec savings account plan, which enabled me to save much more money than I had anticipated, in order to pay the full course fee. Today, Msekeli Ntola, from a poor background in the Eastern Cape Town, is a teacher in the making. I am proud of myself.