Bombethu has been part of our life skills after-school programme in Gugulethu for five years, and works hard in school to achieve her dreams.
Born in the Eastern Cape, Bombethu and her family moved to Gugulethu when their house was burned down. They moved into her late aunt’s house, where she lives with her mother, brothers, sister, and grandmother. Her siblings, mother and grandmother all work to support the family. Bombethu is the youngest by almost ten years, and loves being spoiled because of it. “I love [being the youngest]. Because I get everything that I want.”
The Amy Foundation offers several after-school programmes at Siyazingisa Primary School in Gugulethu, from dance to marimba to netball, but Bombethu chose life skills. “I just want to learn. [The dance programme] teaches you how to dance, but I love reading.” The facilitators teach about peer pressure around drugs, sex, and alcohol, as well as literacy and general health education. In many communities, older men prey on easily influenced young girls, causing them to rely on the men and not have the opportunity to grow themselves or prioritize their future career. “Our teacher told us that when you get a boyfriend, you mustn’t just go sleep with him. You must first say, ‘I’m too small.’ In this place now they are dating big people. Our teacher said we mustn’t date big people, we must date our peers.”
Bombethu focuses on herself and her schooling. She has good marks in school and aspires to be a doctor. “I want to be a doctor…Because there are many people this year that are dying in hospitals…There’s another woman there that was giving birth, but there was no one helping her. I want to help.” The quality of the healthcare system in South Africa is dependent on your wealth, the rich receive world-class treatments from highly qualified doctors, while the vast majority of the population is unable to afford the same care. Instead, they are forced into crushing debt or rundown and crowded facilities, causing many people with treatable illnesses to lose their lives. Bombethu wants to be part of the solution; she wants to work in Gugulethu and help the community directly, making sure the underprivileged get equal access to quality healthcare.
But right now she is 13, enjoying being the youngest child and spending her free time spring cleaning and studying. In class, she loves to make jokes and is well-liked by her peers and teachers. “I am so talkative. I’m a dark-skinned girl. I’m tall, I have black hair, and my favourite subject is technology. I don’t like geography, it’s too hard. I’m kind to people.” Her future is bright, and the Amy Foundation will be there to support her as she grows up.