Whatever happened to the Mnyakanya students studying at night in 2006?

An inspirational update about one of our favourite Bambisanani stories

Photo: Studying at Mnyakana High School in 2006

Photo: Studying at Mnyakana High School in 2006

“Following years of requests for information about Thembeka Luthuli - the girl who wanted to become a nurse that I found revising with her friend late at night - I have just heard from Pk that SHE DID indeed become a nurse! You will remember that she walked to school and back twice that day (about 8 hours in total!). Just to make the story even better it turns out that the boy in the picture - Senzo Nzuza went on to become a teacher!

It is an unbelievably uplifting inspirational story. I always feared that that all the determination and dedicated might not have been enough to combat a system that is stacked against such students. This really is amazing stuff.”
— David Geldart

The story of the initial meeting in 2006:

“The desire of students to learn is palpable; students in the UK have much to learn from Mnyakanya students who demonstrate quite unbelievable aspiration, motivation and commitment. One night, I saw a light on in a classroom and went over to investigate. I found two students in the room studying for the forthcoming matriculation exam. It transpired that the female student had walked two hours to school that day for a 7.30am start.

At 2.30pm, the end of the school day, she walked home to make a family meal before returning to school to revise. She came back into school because her friend had a text book and there was an electric light. The students were studying science and informed me that they would work through the book probably finishing about midnight. The girl then had the two hour walk home over rough tracks in the dark. The student would walk eight hours that day because she wants to be a nurse. She was in school next morning for the 7.30am start.”
— David Geldart