Driven by anger to be one of a select few

2012-01-07 16:52

When Sibusiso Ngcobo (17) learnt about the poor showing of black chartered accountants during a visit by an accountancy firm to his school, he was so embarrassed and angry he made it his ambition to become one of the select few.

This week, the pupil from Buhlebethu High in rural Mtwalume, on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, not only aced matric accounting with 97%, but also became one of the two top matric learners in the country’s poorest schools.

Sibusiso’s five As and perfect scores in economics and business studies earned him a spot among the pupils who were recognised by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga for their achievements in Pretoria this week.

“I flew for the first time and was interviewed on national television. I honestly couldn’t believe it was me,” he said.

Sibusiso’s mother, Phyllis Ngcobo (49), said she could not hold back the tears when watching her youngest on television.

“When they clapped, we would also clap. I cried so hard because I kept thinking: Who am I for this to happen to me?”

For Sibusiso, who believes he would have done resoundingly better had he attended a well-resourced school, it was about making the best of the little he had.

“I would definitely class my school as poor. We had limited resources. Even though we had computers, they were faulty and as a result students are not computer literate. Our lab equipment was also lacking. Very few experiments were done because of that,” he said.

However, he believed the biggest impediment was the school’s outdated text books, which also had to be shared among pupils.

“We had to share textbooks among three people. But if you had homework and the people you share with lived far from you, you ended up not doing homework and being left behind.
 
“I would say that was my biggest challenge.”

Sibusiso’s parents did not complete matric themselves but there is an engineer, an accountant and a quantity surveyor among their seven living children. One of Sibusiso’s brothers obtained matric with six As three years ago.

Said Sibusiso: “My father (Ephraim, 65) is very strict when it comes to the use of English. Since I was young, he would give me orders in English which he expected me to carry out.

“He felt that having a strong handle on the language would increase my chances of grasping concepts at school.”
 
While Sibusiso was fortunate enough to have teachers who offered Saturday classes as well as occasional night classes since the beginning of their trial examinations, his game plan was tutoring other pupils.

“I can’t study for long hours. But by helping them solve problems I was helping myself,” he said proudly.

Sibusiso has been accepted to study B.Com Accounting at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Because of his good results, his phone has not stopped ringing with scholarship offers from people who saw him on TV.

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