Her home is a one-room shack that she shares with her parents and three siblings – and her classroom is a converted steel container that houses 67 pupils.
But Tshepang Konanisi from Diepsloot Ext 6 overcame all obstacles and achieved five distinctions, coming top in her class.
Now she dreams of studying architecture and building beautiful buildings including a proper home for her parents.
“The room in our shack is used as a bathroom, dining room, bedroom and a sitting room,” she said.
“I had to wait for everyone to go to sleep at night before I could take out my books and study.”
She said besides being in a house with very limited space, neighbours in their congested yard played music at a full blast making it difficult to concentrate.
“It was hard for me,” she said.
Tshepang went to school with 66 other pupils at Diepsloot Secondary School No 3, in a classroom made from a steel container.
Tshepang said wherever she had a chance, she would go for her books.
“I never went out with friends. My books were my friends,” she said.
Her mother, a domestic worker, and her unemployed father always encouraged her to do the best she could in her studies.
“I could see the pain in their eyes when I needed something for school and they couldn’t give it to me,” she said.
“I want to study architecture. I have always loved buildings.”
As a young girl she watched Top Billings to see the beautiful buildings and the lovely interiors.
“I want to build my parents a beautiful home one day,” she said.
Tshepang’s achievement has led her to her next challenge. She needs to find sponsors who can help her fund her education.
“I am hoping Nsfas will help me. If that doesn’t happen, and a sponsor doesn’t come forward, my academic future is blank,” she said.