My name is Mathapelo Constance Sibanda. I’m 19 years old. One word to describe me is hopeful. I think hope is the centre of my life, hope helps me wake up every morning. Hope is what I get when I feel like giving up because I am hopeful that everything will work out for my good. 2020 was a hard year due to Covid-19 and being in matric.
I decided to take a gap year in 2021. I was undecided about what I’ll study at varsity anyway, so gap year it was. Around March my stepmom sent me a post advertising the Youth Accelerator Program she’d seen on someone’s status who works at Afrika Tikkun’s, Phuthaditjaba Centre. I read the post and I remember it said something like “Navigate adulthood and careers”. I liked that because I was fresh from high school and certainly didn’t know anything about the world of working. It was perfect for me. I confess I was a little reluctant to go as I thought “it’s in Alex, I mean😂😂, will it be of quality or what?”
I applied anyway because I didn’t have anything to do. My gap year wasn’t going as planned. In matric I had thought during my gap year I would wake up late till June, but I was already tired and missing school by February. I went for the interview and a week or two later I got a call that said I was accepted.
The 3rd August was our first day at Phuthaditjaba Centre for the Youth Accelerator Program and I was blown away. This was way better than the Life Orientation that I did at school. I sat there listening so attentively and I remember praying in my heart saying “Oh Lord I am so grateful to be hearing what I’m hearing.” I was almost emotional and I thought, “everyone should hear this because these are some good life tips.” I was more than happy to go back the next day.
How has Yap changed my life? Yap changed my mindset. It opened my mind in ways that it never has before. From the beginning of class, the gratitude journal and affirmations were everything. Yap taught me that it’s all in the mind. The battle is won first in the mind. I am one person that loves learning and being corrected. I would rather learn from other people’s experiences than to have to be killed by something that killed someone else. The bible says, “my people perish because of lack of knowledge” and from the knowledge I gained from Yap, it will help me not to perish. Yap was amazing, if I could, I would go back again just so that those lessons don’t leave my memory.
Now 2022 I was expecting to be in university but unfortunately, I was rejected. So, I decided to upgrade my marks. I was so down and hurt, but I was an Afrika Tikkun Alumni now. Once an Alumni always an Alumni. I remember during our Yap graduation we were told that Afrika Tikkun will always be our home, meaning if our plans don’t work out, we can always make a U-turn and come home.
Indeed, I am home under Afrika Tikkun Services, doing my driver’s license for free. My parents were surprised to hear that we have twenty lessons each instead of just ten. As I write this piece, I am at the driving grounds after completing my eighth lesson. I am really enjoying them and maybe by my fifteenth lesson or so I’ll be close to perfection.