Securing a spot in the academy involves a highly competitive process for girls who show that they have the ability to excel and move beyond challenging circumstances. When 12-year old Nabeelah got the news that she’d been accepted, she reportedly stood and repeatedly shouted “congratulations”, while her mother laughed and her brother Luqmaan, aged 8, cried for joy.
Nabeelah, who wants to be a flight attendant and open a school for kids in Manenberg “to teach them how to read and tell them that drugs are not good and to give others a chance”, has had the desire to attend the academy since 2013. Her school principal, Michael Mitchell, described her as one of the brightest pupils in the school who has remained dedicated despite tough circumstances in her life.
At the time the news of her admission came, Nabeelah was in the middle of another challenging circumstance. She, her brother, her mum and her mum’s boyfriend had been evicted and were moving from the wendy house they lived.
After passing the entrance exam, she made the trip to the academy in Johannesburg: “I was excited. We stayed in a five-star hotel and I had never experienced that treatment before. I was so excited when I saw the academy and I can’t wait to start next year,” she said.
On how she felt on being informed of her admission, Nabeelah said, “I was very excited when I was notified that I had been accepted. I took the letter to my friends and bragged about it. When the lady told me, my mommy was laughing and my brother just started to cry.”