In our inspirational read this week, the Education Ambassadors SA team caught up with a young lady from QwaQwa, Freestate by the name of Thoriso Mofokeng. She believes that success is not meant for specific people only. Read her story below:
I’m 23 years old, born and bred in a town called Qwaqwa in the Free State. I’m the oldest of two girls in my family. I did my secondary schooling at Retief High School in Kestel and finished my matric in 2010 and went on to study a Bachelors in Social Sciences where I majored in psychology and criminology in my third year at The University of the Free State in Bloemfontien.
Growing up I always wanted to study psychology, I never was much of a sporty girl growing up but I would always get lost in books that had anything to do with psychology. Instead of being on the netball or tennis teams, I would engage in public speaking and Eskom science expos and somehow my topics would always surround human behaviour. Until now, my fascination and love for psychology or human behaviour is still steadfast.
I had a very interesting childhood, interesting in a good and bad way; but given a chance I still wouldn’t change the bad cause it molded me into the strong young woman I am today.
I unfortunately grew up with a father that was emotionally and to a certain extent physically abusive. Going back home sometimes from school was a mission because school was my escape. As any normal person, what kept happening at home affected me slowly but surely. No young child understands the dynamics of abuse, that it’s not their fault that they are being tarnished; so when all those painful events happened, naturally I thought I’m the problem or I’m unlovable. A girl’s first male love should come from her father and when a father fails to do that, the consequences of that can be dire. Luckily instead of all those bad things breaking me, I grew stronger, empathetic towards others determined to one day help those that experience abuse in any form or anything that tries to break a young person’s spirit. The most important thing is that above all else, I made the most of my childhood.
Today I have my own company where we create educational board games for kids as young as 10 and as old as 18. These games are created to make learning more fun. And make every day, monotonous subjects more appealing. Kids can learn about building their self-esteem, setting goals, teenage suicide, bullying, substance abuse; everything that young people go through these days. The games basically test and feed kids with age appropriate knowledge on whichever topic concerning youth issues, and at the same time tries to equip them with strategies to deal with whatever issues they face. My having studied a couple of modules concerning human behaviour and development tends to help.
I do a lot of reading on whatever issue I chose to combat and the theories developed over the years concerning it. But again I enjoy having conversations with teenagers about what is happening in their lives these days, what makes them tick, where do they want to see themselves, how they want to get there. That gives me insight about what is missing in everyday talks they have with teachers or parents or even their peers.
I got this business idea from a mentor of mine who offers similar services. I decided to go the business route because finding a job proved to be a bit difficult.
It’s hard getting a job without experience really, I haven’t given up on finding another job but I realised that rather than sitting and not doing anything, regardless of how long it has been since I finished my degree, I should do something. And I might not be doing what I studied for right now, but I enjoy doing something that helps empower kids’ minds in a fun way.
I’m quite resilient. Like a wire spring, you can push me down but I will push back up. As young as I am, I’ve been through a lot, but I look at myself now and I cannot believe how far I’ve come. And I came out stronger! I don’t give up easily, and don’t believe in self-pity. I’m very optimistic and try to find the good in the bad, it’s not easy but it’s a trait I try polish every day. I am a good listener, I prefer listening because I learn so much about different people through that.
Words of Wisdom
I believe entrepreneurship is the way to go these days, finding a job is proving to be difficult day in and day out. Regardless of qualifications or not. And again, we have so many ideas that sometimes cannot be put into motion when employed by someone else. There’s nothing wrong with having a 9-5 job but sometimes it restricts your dreams to what a 9-5 job can offer. With entrepreneurship, we can empower other younger and older women and also prove to ourselves and other people that you can do whatever you want as long as you put in the work. We need to inspire younger women and show them that they can be independent.
I’m very proud of my graduating, getting my degree. It was hard, but definitely worth the tears. Not a lot of people complete their studies these days for whatever reason but I strongly still believe in education and believe that nobody is too old to learn. Again I’m of that because my mother worked very hard to get me the best education without any limits. I had the best education, with the best books, I lacked not. So me finishing my studies was also a gift to my mother.
I would like to see myself at a platform where my influence is stronger and larger than it is now. Being able to reach a larger number of kids and help them with whatever they may face. Being able to motivate younger people with the stories I have about my life, the good and the bad. I want to help kids to make informed choices about whatever they may want and make them realise that they can be whatever they want regardless of their circumstances. This is what I want my company to do, reach youth of all culture, economic status, creed or race.
Every little and big thing that happened to me made me into the lady I am today. Every painful thing taught me endurance, patience and strength, every great event taught me gratitude. I think if I had to do it all over again, I would take a gamble and do it just the same way.
I draw strength from my mother. Her strength is remarkable. She’s been through the most devastating ordeals and still remains strong. Again, she has a heart of gold, shares whatever she has whether a little or a lot with whoever she knows is in need. She’s my superwoman.
Start now, just do it. Whether you start by saving capital for your business, or you start by doing research, or going to business summits, making connections, studying something which is your passion. Whatever it is, do it! You might want to wait until you a bit older, or you know somebody, no!
Success is not meant for specific people only. Your hands, your mind, the fire inside of you is enough to activate the life you long for.
Facebook: Popi Thoriso Mo’fokeng-Ntseare
Thank you for sharing your inspirational story with our community,Thoriso. All the best in everything you do.
If you would also like to see your inspirational story published in our blog, email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org