FINISHING school is a dream for Nomvula Sibanyoni (44).

She did didn’t have a good childhood and had to leave school in grade 9 to do housework.

“My dad died when I was young and I don’t know my mum. I grew up surrounded by anger and now life is tough for me,” said the mum from Kwathema in Springs, Ekurhuleni.

She said speaking and understanding English can still be a challenge sometimes.

Nomvula has started an organisation for the elderly called Ratanang. It is where she teaches gogos and mkhulus writing, reading and other skills.

“I want to be a leader who understands English very well. I want to start grade 8 at adult school next year.”

Some gogos in her organisation cannot read, write or speak English and that also pains Nomvula, even though she struggles with the language too.

As a young girl, Nomvula wanted to be a social worker.

“I can still achieve that if I go back to school and work hard.”

Nomvula doesn’t want her child to go through what she went through.

“Education is very important because if I had the opportunity to go to school, I would be a different person today. That must not happen to my daughter.”

Every Wednesday, Nomvula meets more than 80 elderly people at a church for three hours. There they exercise, sew, learn and get a free meal so they can take their medication. They go to the church as they don’t have another place to meet.

Yesterday, they had a fun walk as part of their 67 minutes for Mandela Day.