Cordelia Nkosi

Despite matriculating top of her class in 2006, Cordelia Nkosi wasn’t able to secure funding to further her education. It was while working in an after-care centre to help to support her family that she discovered a love of teaching. She was already teaching herself English by listening to the radio, so why not join the maths and English programme run by the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa and help to fill the need for more competent black maths teachers? The programme places talented youth, like Nkosi, in some of the best schools while they study to become teachers. During her four-year internship at St Andrew’s in Johannesburg, Nkosi juggled her studies with school, boarder-mistress duties and teaching at the school’s Saturday outreach programme. She graduated cum laude and was offered a fulltime post at the school. Today, she sees every class as an opportunity to make children believe in themselves, just as others believed in her.

— Lu Larché