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The Beginning of a True Toastmasters Dream

Four years ago, my name made headlines in the Boksburg advertiser
newspaper and the SABC kids news channel. The article read as follows:
“Vosloorus Pupil Is Queen of Public Speaking! Wendy Khumalo, from
the Vosloorus-based Thuto Lesedi High School, was named Queen of
Public Speaking during the metro’s hosting of an HIV/Aids debate.”
I had just turned 18, what did this mean for me? I had no slightest idea.
I was just an enthusiastic scholar who felt very passionate about
speaking in public. Whether it was a debate battle, a public speaking
event, a competition or an academic event, I knew just the right things
to say, made logic arguments and was very confident in expressing
myself.
Although I had answers for every debate rebuttal and an unfailing
effort to triumph in any speaking challenge (including English class
speeches, essay writing, school presenting etc.) one problem persisted;
I grew an utter confusion on what career route I would follow after
completing my matric year because although I was a very good public
speaker I was also an academic enthusiast and where I come from

success was determined by the choice of your University course.
Believe it or not I had applied to study Electrical Engineering, a Bachelor
of commerce in law and a Bachelor of Science. None of which I had any
like for, just an academic link. So there I was, enrolling to study the
Bachelor of commerce in law at the University of Witswatersrand which
was a prestige move for someone coming from my school, it was even a
fundamental requirement of standard for someone at my academic
level. Not to mention that I had already been cursed to fail varsity by
one mischievous teacher who did not like me at the time. Therefore, I
also had a point to prove.
Within a week of attending classes at the University I felt disconnected
and over a year of doing what was ripping my heart apart, I learned
something very important; “this was my path and I was the sole
leader”. As the year went by, everyone I had to prove points to had
vanished from sight and that led me to realize that they also wouldn’t
be there in the next three years to come (just as I thought), or the next
five to ten years. One simple question haunted my nights: “Who am I
going to blame after I waste years of my youth chasing a dream that
isn’t mine and losing mine in the process?” The answer was always the
same “nobody else, but me.” It was time for change!

I’m as pleased as punch for following my leader, myself. I was my own
leader, the only person who was responsible for waking up and turning
my dreams into reality, even though they were still unclear. Not after I
prove a point to a few bunch, not even after I create a backup plan in
case of failure but the time was NOW. It was there and then that I had
to wake up from a nightmare I could’ve slept through for five years. It
was time to put on my adult shoes.
Sometimes we feel it’s okay to hold off our dreams in pursuit of those
that are deemed suitable for us. Sometimes, even though we choose to
follow our very own most desired dreams, the path may seem so
unclear and disappointingly harder to pursue. However, remember this;
if it is your desired path, if it is your source of happiness and if it does
give you unbelievable hope for the future, it will find you, just like it
found me.
When I stepped my foot into Toastmasters 11 months ago, after a two
years quest for the path that would lead me to my dream, I was finally
home. All roads merged and created a vivid pathway for me that is
continuously improving my public speaking skills, building my

leadership presence and although I am not a professional paid public
speaker yet, for the past 10 months every decision I have made through
this organization has given me incredibly satisfying results and an
opportunity for tremendous growth, clarity and confidence. I am
certain that the people who are currently in my network will be there
to make merry with me when my progress is eminent because they are
here to guide me through it now. This is not where the story ends, it
has just begun.

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