Youth Opinion


Opportunities waiting for you

My name is Oratile Kekana, and I am currently doing Grade 9 at St Albans College in Pretoria. I born and bred in a township called Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, a place where my heart will forever peace. I had a dream and that dream was to be successful and be the second in my family to get a degree. I didn’t know if that dream would be reality considering the fact that my family had always had financial problems and crisis, the fact that there were 9 of us in one house and every stomach had to be fed and basically because my mom was a single parent. But like any other township kid, I grew up playing soccer on the streets with cousins and enjoyed playing games like “Black Mompati” and went to church (Jonas Lediga Presbyterian) every Sunday with my grandmother. In 2007, my mother decided to take me to an English crèche around SunnySide and I really thank her for that because that’s where my dream was starting to show fruits of reality. I then learnt to speak English (One box ticked) and only after that did I move on to primary at Arcadia Primary in Pretoria Central.

For me this was a good learning experience because it exposed me to diversity in many ways include both religion and race. I achieved quite a number of accolades like the best mathematics student for three years in a row (Grade 1,2 and 3) ,later on in Grade 6 I held a position in the Top 10 and lastly being a school prefect the following year. I then started realising that, the dream I once had might be a dream rethought again. Prior to this I applied for a high school scholarship in 2015 with a company by the name Allan Gray Orbis. It was my only hope of a great education and success, and I grabbed it. After the application in October 2015, I was shortlisted from about 4500 candidates and was through to the next round which was Literacy and Numeracy Benchmark Test that took place in November 2016 at Varsity College in Pretoria. Receiving 80% for my test, I was shortlisted to go to an interview in the Allan Gray Orbis Headquarters in Sandton. I did very well at the interview and was just myself and again was I shortlisted to go to the camp which was held at a hotel in Johannesburg. We did quite a number of activities that let us get out of our comfort zones. After that I received confirmation that I was accepted by Standard Bank and Allan Gray to go to St Albans College in Pretoria.

It has been a long journey but it was worth the wait, NEVER GIVE UP, keep chasing that dream.



No Dress codes for me.

Let us just imagine millions of girls around the world being suspended from school because elders think some females clothing is too distracting for boys; they are wearing something ‘inappropriate’ for school. From a vest showing to much skin, a t-shirt that shows your bra or bra strap, short shorts, showing my tummy. The list could go on because I do realize that there are other crazy dress codes in schools controlling female learners which luckily do not apply to my school, but there are other females who suffer from this every day when they get to wear something they feel comfortable in.

So first of all when you choose to purchase something from the store your first thought is “this will look pretty good on me and I really feel good wearing it” but dress codes and society have changed that so much; you really end up not knowing how to dress yourself because there always will be a “problem” with it. Even though there are some positive aspects to society, people who encourage you, to be you (because you’re pretty cool); but the struggle for females is far from over. We also like our male counter-parts like to wear clothing that reflects our personality, outlook on life, style and mood etc. Dress code stops girls from shining, revealing the real you after being in school uniform for so long. How someone dresses should not need to offend you in anyway, you choose to be offended, I mean really why you should care what someone is wearing if you don’t like it go ahead and move on.
If you see my bra strap then you should know girls during puberty have to face the fact that they grow breasts and wearing bra comes with that. If you are afraid the boys will get distracted because of my bra straps, arm, cleavage or legs are showing then you should be worried for the boys instead of my clothing. Boys should not be sexualizing or even staring at any of my ‘exposed’ parts. You are only limiting a female to a certain extent because they can be suspended for wearing something, whilst the males get to carry on school without being punished in any way for not controlling their hormones.