Today I’m “sondering*” about Sithabile Kuuya.
I met Sithabile (shortened to “Sitha”) on my second day in Cape Town. Sitha works for Ida Cooper Associates, a small organization who takes care of exchange students during their time abroad. She has helped me get settled in Cape Town and has become one of my dearest friends here. Definitely a highlight of my experience.
My first impression of Sitha was that she was “all business”. Not in a bad way, but she seemed to have everything all together as she was in charge of the 20+ incoming students and making sure that they were getting all that they needed. Of course, the first day in a foreign country is usually hectic for all parties.
I quickly learned that Sitha is so much more than my first impression. First, Sitha’s fashion sense is on point, she looks great everywhere she goes (I often feel underdressed next to her). Yes, she’s also very serious about her work and putting in the effort that she needs to put in to succeed. Sitha is also very warm and caring. Within the first few days of my time here, Sitha stopped by my room a few times, checking in with me about how I was feeling, how class registration went, and if I needed anything. Throughout my time here, Sitha has been extremely welcoming, inviting me to social events and dinners. I am truly grateful for the relationship that I have been able to form with Sitha and am thankful that she allowed me to interview her.
Where were you born and where are you from?
Johannesburg, South Africa
Where in the world have you lived?
Mainly South Africa, but I lived in Zimbabwe for 2 years
What languages do you speak (outside of English)?
Zulu, my family has roots near the origin [of the language]
What is your relationship with your parents? What do they do?
Sitha has a strong relationship with her mom, who currently lives in Zambia with her grandmother. Her mom has always been loving and supportive throughout Sitha’s life, and in turn, she is protective of her mother, doing her best to protect her from pain and wanting her mom to be happy.
Do you have any siblings?
5 siblings, but a brother had passed away
What other family members/relatives are you close to?
Her older sister, who is currently a research fellow at Oxford. Her sister has been positively involved in her life and is encouraging of her goals.
What year are you and what are you currently studying?
She in her third year, studying law**
“I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
She notes that fields like medicine and accounting simply did not suit her and that she was heavily encouraged by her sister.
What was your journey like to get to UCT?
1. “I was scared of not getting admitted to UCT because other members of my family had gotten in [in the past].” She didn’t want to be the only member who couldn’t get in.
2. Her mom was always working but still had limited financial resources to support her education.
3. Sitha has health issues starting in secondary school–to the point that she needed a heart and lung transplant. The doctors even informed her family that she had little hope of surviving and little time before she passed away.
What are your future plans after varsity?
She wishes to obtain a job at one of the “Big 5” (which are the biggest law firms in the country). She also wants to figure out God’s plan for her, noting that “the plan I have for me is nothing to God’s plan for me.”
If you could be doing anything right now (not school), what would it be?
What is a memorable moment in your life?
A few months ago, God spoke to me. I am the only person in my life that can change [my life]. I have to have the strength to control my life and destiny.
She alludes to her chronic health issues, which became a situation of “do or die” With the support and love of God, “I chose to live.”
Do you have any fears?
“I do not have a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind,” she quotes.
What is your ultimate goal in life?
She wants to “walk in the perfect footsteps of God, [have] God fully embedded in my spirit, [and] live the Word in everyday life”.
If you could do anything in the world and be successful — qualifications, costs, and other people don’t matter — what would you do?
Act and make movies
Change people’s lives by spreading the Word of God
What are your favorite music artists, movies, books?
Music (ranging from pop, hip-hop, house, and contemporary music): Asa, Rihanna, The Game, Ringo, Solange, Benjamin Dube
She notes that she likes songs that are emotional and have deep meanings.
Movies: “The Other Boleyn Girl”, “Gladiator”, “The Color Purple”, “Yesterday”, The Matrix trilogy, “Lord of the Rings”
She also likes romance movies and likes to watch “The Holiday” with her mom.
Books: Books by Jeffrey Archer, Half a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
What do you want people to say at your funeral?
“Her life was a wonder, a surprise.”
“I want people to know what Christ has done for me” because finding Christ has helped her make a 360o change in her life in a time when she hit rock bottom. She was able to make a change for the better.
What are the most important things in your life?
The Word of God
Friends and family
“I want to have succeeded in everything that I set my mind to, no matter the obstacles. I want to make a positive change in people’s lives, starting with those around me.” Living a full life and giving back.
What advice do you give others?
Trust in God.
You are the one person who can make up your mind to change, you can’t rely on others for your outcome in life.
“You have to get up and take the first step. You can’t truly depend on anyone else besides yourself. Don’t let yourself down”
What is one thing you wish to see changed in the world?
People to be filled with love and to love others. If you love, you wouldn’t want to cheat on/fight/kill others. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
What are things you definitely want to accomplish in your life?
I want to be able to look after my mom and my family. My mom has sacrificed so much for me, so I must do well to honor my mom.
What is some skill that you’ve always wanted to learn but never got the chance to?
I want to be a ballerina. I started ballet when I was young, on and off, but I never mastered it.
Who are you?
I am on a journey, learning, trusting in God to reveal to me His plans. I am a work in progress and am being worked on. I am in a cocoon, ugly, but will come out as a beautiful butterfly.
How do you feel about other people outside of Africa think about Africa?
Sad and disappointing, especially in a global world
“If people want to educate themselves, they would.” It’s inexcusable to accept preconceived notions because the knowledge is out there.
I am truly thankful that Sitha is living and breathing today. Sitha demonstrates that she is such a strong person because she doesn’t let anyone or anything keep her from achieving what she wants. She clearly holds values in her faith and in her family, especially her mom. She is set out to make a positive difference in the world, and I have no doubt that is what she will do. I have met such a genuine person, who is absolutely beautiful inside and out.
Over and out.
* Yup, I’m just making up words now.
If it doesn’t work for you, let me know.
**A law degree (LLB) here can be attained as an undergraduate degree. It varies as a 4 or 5 year program.