To take on full responsibility of a school at the age of 28 would be a daunting task for anyone, but when LEAP Science and Maths School in Linbro Park, Johannesburg, achieved a 100% matric pass rate in her first year as principal, Asanda Sigigaba’s decision to step into the role was vindicated.
There are six LEAP schools in the country offering free tutelage to high-potential learners from impoverished backgrounds. Sigigaba’s school serves the Alexandra township area. Children are taught in English, isiZulu, Sepedi and Sesotho.
As an educator, Sigigaba has direct influence on the young people. The message she conveys to them is one of tenacity and perseverance:
“Your background is not a determining factor of where you’ll end up in life. However, it can be a motivation for you to do everything possible to change your current and future reality. Don’t be scared to dream and don’t get tired of trying and pushing through even when it gets difficult and you fail.”
Sigigaba is hopeful of inspiring a new breed of leaders — “sensitised, caring leaders who will also lead in their families and communities so that children are protected and nurtured, and young women are empowered to be with no restrictions”.
Motivation isn’t hard to find. What drives her is “Knowing that I’m contributing to a positive change for our future leaders which will impact positively in their families and communities.”