Mandisa, Grade 12 student at Imagine Scholar, recently heard that she had been admitted to the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in Johannesburg! She is the first female in Nkomazi to be accepted into this prestigious two-year leadership development and university preparatory program. Mandisa is actually the second Imagine Scholar to be accepted to ALA (Jabulane in 2013 was the first). Out of the 3,000-4,000 applicants, Mandisa was one of the 100 accepted students!

This great accomplishment is no doubt a reflection of Mandisa’s hard work, constant studying and belief in herself that she

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could accomplish anything that she sets her mind to. Mandisa attributes Imagine Scholar for her great achievement. She started at Imagine Scholar three years ago, already a great student receiving high marks, but Imagine Scholar fostered the leadership skills she already had and supported her growth in new ways. “When Imagine Scholar became part of my life,it changed the way I viewed things. It made me realize that life is not all about grades, but it’s about what kind of person I am, and the visions I have for my continent,” Mandisa said. She has grown abundantly over the past three years and Imagine Scholar has been with her every step of the way. “Most of all, Imagine Scholar taught me to be my own person, to believe in myself that I the potential to become one of Africa’s next leader,” she elaborated.

Mandisa has high hopes for her future to work in medicine. She plans to work very hard at ALA and learn skills, then go to university. Following that, she wants to come back and improve her community. “There is a saying in my culture which says, ‘umuntfu ungumuntfu ngebantfu,’ meaning a person is a person because of other people. If it weren’t of community, I do not think I will the person I am today. I will forever be grateful to them for the wonderful job they have done in raising me,” Mandisa explained. “I believe this continent is not going be changed by people from Europe or Japan, but is going to be changed by Africans and that is only possible if we get ourselves educated.”

Everything that Mandisa has accomplished has been because of her determination and work ethic. Imagine Scholar saw great potential in her three years ago and she continues to go above and beyond. She comes to Imagine Scholar almost everyday to study, prepare for ALA, and speak with other students. She is a bright light and Imagine Scholar cannot wait to see how she succeeds at ALA over the next two years in Johannesburg!