By Keren Banza
From the Eastern region of Nigeria to the city of Makhanda, fate brought Chidinma Inheanetu and Asemahle James together. Their connection reflects the lasting impact of the Nine Tenths Mentoring Programme.
Chidinma, a PhD candidate at Rhodes University, has been involved in mentoring since 2019. Her passion for mentoring stems from her desire to give the youth the advice and skills she lacked when she was younger. A mentor guides someone towards their dreams and helps them reach their full potential. As a student leader for the programme, Chidinma wasn’t meant to get a mentee. Fate had other plans.
Asemahle, a former matric learner at Khutliso Daniels Secondary School, had Chidinma assigned as her mentor when her original mentor couldn’t participate. Asemahle has always been determined to make her dream come true, a goal she keeps close to her heart. As a lover of quotes, the words “Everything is hard before it is easy” by Goethe J.W. is a reflection of her journey. Despite the challenges of matric, she found solace in Chidinma’s mentorship. From learning how to write effective summaries, making future plans or sharing personal problems having a mentor made the journey worthwhile. Asemahle’s self-confidence has grown, and she has learned the importance of always trying and never giving up. Despite their different backgrounds, they didn’t let language become a barrier. During their sessions, Chidinma picked up isiXhosa words and phrases while Asemahle practised speaking more English. Chidinma has also learned more about the Makhanda community throughout her mentoring years.
Both their efforts have paid off. Asemahle was one of the top-achieving students in the programme. Currently, she is completing a bridging programme. At GADRA, she is upgrading her Physical Science and Mathematics marks while studying Cell Biology at Rhodes University. Her mentoring relationship with Chidinma has continued beyond Nine Tenths, helping her navigate this new chapter.
Guidance, support and encouragement are the cornerstones of mentorship. It’s a light that encourages others to shine brighter. Asemahle wants also to become a mentor for Nine Tenths while at Rhodes. Chidinma’s hopes for her are that she soars higher than she could ever dream. Whether brought together by fate or not, they have forever impacted each other’s lives.