THE MISSING INGREDIENT TO SUCCESS
Siyamthanda Dyasi was one of the top 20 achievers in the Western Cape in Grade 12. He tells us the role his family played in helping him achieve success.
Born in Gugulethu – one of the city’s biggest townships – Siyamthanda (19) was raised by a single mother who worked in the Post Office and lived in a home they shared with his grandmother, an aunt, three cousins, his younger brother (3) and various other family members at times.
“I lived in a three-bedroom brick house. My home was always full with people, there would be aunts, uncles and cousins around and we would often have relatives staying over. I used to lose count of how many people lived in my granny’s house, there were times when we were more than 12.”
Growing up, Siyamthanda never knew his father, but he says that because he was well loved and supported by his family he was never curious about him.
“People are always surprised when I tell them that I don’t care to know who my father is. I think it is because my family made me feel special and together we were always a unit.”
For Siyamthanda’s family, education was important and they made many choices at home that encouraged learning.
“Growing up, I would say I was privileged because I always got what I needed. During study time eventhough sometimes the house was full, they all respected that I needed to study and avoided making too much noise.”
“Since primary school, each day I arrived home and I followed the same routine. I would change my school clothes, have lunch and do my homework. If I had any free time afterwards I would read a book. I used to borrow books in the library each weekend because visiting the library were the outings with my family.”
“I also remember when I was 10 I wanted a playstation. To my surprise my mom bought me a computer. I think at the time I didn’t get why it was important but I know now. I am grateful for that lesson, I still use it today. When I need to decide between buying something towards my education or a luxury, I always choose to invest in my future.”
His upbringing and family dedication to education, motivated Siyamthanda to be a top student since primary school.
In his teen years, Siyamthanda says that he was faced with some people who would pick on him because he chose to study and not hang around with the other youth in the neighbourhood.
“I remember there was a guy who worked at a shop that was down the street from my school and he would always tell me that I thought I was better than the others because I was always inside my house. I ignored him, but he would poke at me and laugh. It bothered me, but my mother would always tell me that it took courage to be different.”
Siyamthanda took the words of his mom to heart and continue to thrive at school through hard work.When he reached Grade 12 he understood that this was the year that would determine his future.
“Every single day I worked harder, I used to study for hours during the night when everyone was sleeping. Since the beginning of the year, I would spend my weekends answering past exam papers.”
His determination to succeed, led him to be one of the students honoured at the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Awards hosted by the Western Cape Education Department.
“I was shocked and emotional when I got the call telling me I was on the top 20 merit list. I never expected it but it was proof that all my hard work paid off.”
In this category, awards are given to candidates who have achieved the top marks in the province. Siyamthanda got five distinctions in his final results including 92% for Accounting, 98% for Business Studies, 82% for Xhosa , 82% for Life Orientation and a 93% for Economics.
Siyamthanda is in his first year at University of Cape Town. He was offered several bursaries to pay for his studies, “I am studying Bcom Accounting and I was able to choose between bursaries. I chose the one that pay for all my university costs. I am completing a degree without it costing a cent to my family.”
Siyamthanda ends, saying: “I know my success happened because of my family and their dedication to me. I really want families to know that they have a great role to play in the education of their children. Youth want to succeed but it is very hard for them without the proper guidance and sufficient love from those around them. Dare to help your child to have the courage to succeed.”
Siyamthanda is a Leaders’ Quest Alumnus, an intervention offered by Salesian Life Choices.