BBL PARTICIPANT: Zenobia Isaacs, Onseepkans, Khai-Ma, Northern Cape - Barbie

In a Nutshell

Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) Programme, Zenobia (Barbie) Isaacs has grown in confidence. She has started to take on leadership roles in community sport. She is using the MyFuture philosophy to inspire her team.

She has also started a small business and applied to study teaching in 2022.

She says…


My real name is Zenobia but since I was a tiny girl everyone has called me Barbie. I am not sure why. My brothers started it and it stuck. In a way I am sorry, because Zenobia is such a lovely, elegant name, but that’s brother for you…

Onseepkans is beautiful and there are wonderful people here, but it can be a difficult place to live. There is so much poverty and so few job opportunities. The pressure on young people can sometimes feel overwhelming. Our parents didn’t have the chance to study when they were young, so they are counting on us to provide them with a better future. There are so few jobs, which means that this expectation can feel impossible to meet. If you can’t get work and you see others getting work, that makes you feel like a failure. I think that this pressure leads to a lot of depression amongst young people.

One of the reasons that I love soccer so much is that it is a great stress relief. I am the secretary of Wings FC and I believe that the sport is a great way to understand life and get rid of problems. I tell the team that it is not just about fitness, through soccer we also learn to communicate, to work together, to cope with winning and losing. It’s not just about building a better team. It is also about building better humans.

I did the MyFuture training in 2020 and I think it has really helped with that sense of stress. I learnt a really vital lesson about getting on with life in real, practical ways. It has been 6 years since I finished matric, but it was through MyFuture that I understood that if you want something to happen, you must make it happen for yourself. Not wait and hope. I don’t mean rush into bad ideas. I also learnt that patience and planning are important. Get it right. I think it’s about having the confidence and commitment to do things properly.


"I understood that if you want something to happen, you must make it happen for yourself."


MyFuture inspired me in so many ways to just get on with things. I gained the confidence to take on a role at the football club, I started a business selling masks for COVID-19 protection, and I applied to study teaching at Varsity College in Cape Town.

For the first time in a long time, I have a plan, and I can see a way forward.  I still need to find funding for my studies but, as soon as I am accepted by Varsity College, I will apply for bursaries and I am hopeful.

The mask business is going well. I sew them and then I advertise on Facebook and WhatsApp and also through word of mouth. I have sold 90 masks so far.

Teaching is my dream. Not just teaching anywhere - teaching in Onseepkans and Melkbosrant is my dream. I know this community. After studying, I must come back because I understand the pressures that children face here. I want to bring my skills back to where I grew up.



Zenobia Isaacs
Zenobia Isaacs