Thembeka Gecelo, "Thembi" lives in Khayelitsha.

Her native language is Xhosa, one of 27 languages spoken in South Africa, native language of 17.5 % of the south african population.

She is 26 years old (* 01/01/1975).

We asked Thembi to write something about herself for us:

I am Thembeka Gecelo.

I come from a poor family, originally from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.
I went to school till Grade 8, after that I came to Cape Town to finish my studies. The main reason why I went to Cape Town was my hoping for a better life.

When I finished my matric, it was very hard to go further with my studies because my mother didn't have the money to pay the expensive fees for the Tursial Level (drama school) - she worked as a domestic and earned R35 per day. I struggled a lot to get the money. I went for a security course. But I couldn't find a job. So I did a computer course for 16 month, but again, even with the diploma, I got no job afterwards

Finally I went to CAPAB, a private drama school, to study drama. With R3000 per semester the universitiy was too expensive. Now I have got a 3 years National Drama Diploma. I performed around Cape Town first, I also went to Belgium, Zimbabwe, Robben Island to perform - it was quite good for me.

In december 1997 I met David. We got married after I came back from Belgium on June 19th, 1999 - that's the date of our wedding. In 1999 I finished my studies. After that I got a job at the Baxter Theatre Centre as an usher. I'm still looking for a good job that can pay me enough money. And now I am staying in Khayelitsha, with my husband and I'm working with children of 6 - 15 years. I teach them drama, arts, music and dance. In future I'm looking forward to run my own project to help people in Khayelitsha. Khayelitsha is a place of talented, skilful, intelligent people.

But at the moment I'm looking forward to making my brick house. In my dreams I want to get everything that I need in life, for example: me and my family living in a beautiful place and not in a shack, being my own boss, helping poor people, especially Khayelitsha people. I think I can only achieve this, if I can get support from somewhere, from someone.

What makes me angry about the government is that they didn't offer enough jobs. People have to live in shacks. If I were the president of South Africa, I would go and talk with the people, listen to them, hear what they need, create jobs for them.

My idea of bringing blacks and whites together would be to organize a workshop where black people and white people would meet to discuss why whites refuse to go to the blacks. I mean, even white people mustn't judge a book by its cover. They must find the content! They must be convinced that the apartheid system is over - they must be free


Michael, Thembi, David, Anja on april 26, 2001


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