The story of Kimlee Campher is one that reminds us just what South Africans can achieve with drive and determination.
The 19-year-old from Mitchells Plain in on her way to becoming the first woman trained to be a commercial diver in the Hout Bay marine salvage operation.
The salvage programme is being led by Guerrini Marine Construction, which has a tender from government as part of Operation Phakisa. They are tasked with cleaning up shipwrecks in Hout Bay which are causing congestion for ships in the area.
So how did the newly graduated Matriculant get on this path so quickly? Kimlee had been working in the HR department at Guerrini. When she came across the diving and marine construction project, she immediately asked to join.
"I actually really love the sea and the whole feeling of being underwater [and] see another life…and to be able to breathe and experience so much more. It makes me feel alive."— Kimlee Campher
Kimlee faced some doubt from other divers. On her first day at the harbour, some men told her that she shouldn't be there. This just made her more motivated to prove them wrong.
She adds that people shouldn’t hesitate to take a chance to follow their dreams.
"If you really want something, don't just hang around and hope it will happen. No matter if you feel you are unqualified -- take the chance and just do it and believe in yourself."— Kimlee Campher
Listen to Abongile Nzelenzele's interview with the inspiring teen below:
Written by Megan Ellis
This article first appeared on LeadSA : CT teen proves skeptics wrong while making diving history