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    Qwa Qwa – Growing up in a community who may have thought that a girl’s destination was seen as a marriage and bearing children for her husband, 16-year-old Mamohapi Emily Canga form Tseki Village never thought that she would be amongst the chosen learners to attend the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) in 2015. This sparkling, confident Grade 10 pupil shared her journey with matric class of 2018 during her motivation session on Friday the 5th at Kgola Thuto Secondary School in Phuthaditjhaba about her life as a child living with her grandparents.
    Mamohap’Si Road to OWLAG was inspiring considering her socio economic background, born in 2002 from the dusty street of Qwa Qwa and raised by her Granny, this young girl aims to be a Medical Doctor or Economist one day. She shared her story after being selected as a full-time learner by this admired school “After receiving a phone call in July 2015 I had mixed emotions, realising that anything is possible and realising that this was the start of all great for me. Because most of the time we ask ourselves, who am I to be something or to do something, whereas the question we should be asking ourselves is who am I not to” said Mamohapi. Once she joined the academy, Mamohapi was chosen to go represent the school in Kenya but couldn’t attend due to visa obstacles but she never backed down as she has succeeded to represent the school in Canada’s International Round Square Conference in September this year. “The school gave us leadership workshop across the world, many conducted by Mom Oprah. It was a great exposure for me as it made me realise the significance of treasuring education.” She also added that she consider herself lucky to have been among the best 62 girls to have made it into the academy out of 6000 applicants.
    With the passion she had for social cohesion, Mamohapi spearheaded the launch of the Campaign called “Point of Departure” which she aims to be the strong believers of young people and empowering girls from disadvantaged communities “Our vision is to close the leadership gap between women and men; we are planning to give something back to our youth by hosting so many activities to youth in the villages. Being a pupil at the luxury school has not influenced her to undermine her impoverished family lifestyle in the village. She also applauds her Ward Cllr Naledi Mojalefa, (MAP Member of Mayoral Committee for LED) for mentoring and encouraging her through thick and thin and encouraged her to also be the best she could in life. “My long term plans is to complete my matric and build a house for my granny Nteku Lisbeth Canga in honour of my mother who passed on in 2003 and also to manifest gratitude through my successes” she concluded.

    By: Masilo Malakwane