Bokamoso Youth Foundation: The Future Begins Here

Poverty Must Die
By Pearl Zondo

I’m walking impatiently, towards my home.
A little four roomed house, where I was born.

I see my mama standing, with a little pot
And then I smile gently, thinking there is food
And then reality strikes, when I realize,
It’s just a pot, a very clean pot.

My silence is screaming
     Poverty must die.

Young People Are the Bokamoso

Meet Pearl Zondo

"I am a leader.
Born in the beginning of freedom.
And live in the cracks of apartheid.
Where I come from
They know I am a pearl, a queen, a woman...
Excerpt from Baby Steps by Pearl Zondo

I’m Pearl Zondo, the second of three children in a family of five. I’m a proud South African 19 year old girl who has a goal of becoming a clinical psychologist.

In 2007, when I finished my matric, I was hit hard by the fact that I couldn’t further my studies due to the reality that my mother was the only bread winner, and she struggled to make ends meet. My dream of studying psychology and some day becoming a clinical psychologist began to fade away while I watched loneliness crawl into my future. I knew I had to find something to keep me busy and off the streets, or else I’d end up like most girls in my neighborhood – a mother of two at the age of 20, drug-addicted and probably HIV positive.

One day I went to the youth center called Bokamoso with a friend. From that day on, I never looked back. Bokamoso gave me two things that brightened my future – life skills and funding for my education.

With Bokamoso my horizons are broadened and brightened. I had won the audition that gave me the opportunity to come to America. For my whole life, I wanted to see myself in an airplane going overseas, but I just did not believe that I could. I thought that it was for rich and important people. But, guess what? I was wrong. Today I woke up after a good night sleep in this big beautiful house in America, a house owned by whites, a house that feels like home to me. My great-great grandparents never thought it possible for us blacks to live in one peace with whites.

Being here in the US has been a great experience for me. These different people are my brothers and sisters, who just have different color skin and funny accents. I didn’t believe that I could actually sing nicely until they clapped for me, danced with me, and cried when they heard what they call my ‘incredible’ voice. These sisters and brothers did not only love my singing, they gave me a place to stay, food to eat, and clothes to keep me warm – for free. Still, they did not end there; they gave me love, a place in their hearts, and most of all funded my school fees.

Watch a video interview of Pearl featured in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington's 2008 Advent calendar.