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The teen from Diep­sloot says her time at the academy taught her to never doubt her­self in re­la­tion to men.

“To me, sex and gen­der are not de­ter­mi­nants of in­tel­lect, con­fi­dence or any other valu­able qual­ity. The na­tion’s pri­mary goal should be to get women to see them­selves as ca­pa­ble hu­man be­ings, not as in­fe­rior to men.”


Thato grew up in an RDP house with her mom, two aunts, two younger sis­ters and four cousins. One of Thato’s pri­mary school teach­ers recog­nised her po­ten­tial and got her forms to ap­ply to the academy. “The en­trance tests were the most dif­fi­cult ex­ams I had ever writ­ten . . . I had no faith at the time that I would make it,” she re­calls.


Thato has en­rolled for a de­gree in health sciences at Wits Uni­ver­sity.

Giv­ing back to her com­mu­nity is part of her plans. “I want to get chil­dren who live in the town­ships off the streets. This will be my first step to­wards build­ing town­ship com­mu­ni­ties.”

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