- Simone Leeuw and Dharfeur Hendricks both overcame their fair share of challenges in their youth
- Their stories serve to inspire the youth, as they were able to graduate despite the hurdles
- Both are currently working at Engen as part of their graduate development programme
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As the nation celebrates the brave youth of the 1976 uprising, one has to acknowledge the challenges that our current youngsters are faced with.
Thankfully, democratic freedom was successfully fought for and achieved, but South Africans are a long way from reaching true economic freedom.
The stories of two talented young graduates should serve as another reminder that greatness can still be achieved, in spite of the stumbling blocks.
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Simone Leeuw grew up in Wentworth, Durban, and economic hardship was a daily reality for her.
Briefly.co.za gathered that a large part of Simone's success can be put down to her positive attitude and mindset.
Simone said, “You can’t go through life waiting to see if you’re going to make it, if you’re going to succeed or if you’re going to be happy. You must choose these paths intentionally, daily, and consistently.”
She spent every Saturday attending supplementary lessons at school and the hard work eventually paid off.
After securing a full bursary, Simone became a Bachelor of Science (Electronic Engineering) graduate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Simone has since joined the Graduate Development Programme at Engen and is working in the Advanced Process Control Department.
Although she was raised in a single parent home, her determination and will to succeed has helped her to reach her full potential.
Simone added, “I’ve always wanted more for myself and my family, and despite many challenges faced, my home life has always been happy, and my family continues to support and inspire me to reach my dreams.”
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Briefly.co.za also learnt of the inspirational story of Dharfeur Hendricks. Despite his turbulent childhood, Dharfeur's academic excellence saw him eventually join joined Engen’s fixed assets department in Cape Town.
Attending school was a challenge for much of Dharfeur's youth.
He explained, “I was diagnosed with ADHD and I had to have six ear operations by the time I was 13. I found it very difficult to understand and keep up with the work in class and as a result I had to repeat two grades. Being older than the other kids made things very challenging and I was constantly bullied and ostracised.”
Incredibly, Dharfeur's hard work paid off, as he eventually matriculated with four distinctions.
His performance when graduating with a B. Com (Financial Accounting) degree at the University of the Western Cape caught the eye of those at Engen.
Dharfeur offered some sage advice to the youth: “There will be times when you will fail but don’t give up because failure does not mean you will be unsuccessful. Life is like a graph with constant ups and downs. Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks because taking that risk could change your life for the better.”
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