What the future holds for matrics

2013-01-06 10:00

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This week, hundreds of thousands of matrics received their results – and turned their attention to what comes next.

Meet some of the young men and women looking ahead to 2013.

They are the matriculants City Press will be shadowing in the coming months to explore the weeks, months and even years after young South Africans receive what some consider the most important document of their lives – their matric certificates.

His mother’s hopes paid off

By 3am on Thursday Lubabalo Mvulana (19) was already up.

His anxiety got the better of him, and he decided to walk two kilometres to the nearest shop to buy a newspaper.

He had high hopes that he’d passed matric and his name would be published.

An hour after arriving at Nobaza Supermarket, the young Tuba Village resident – whose home town is just outside East London – was joined by four members of his study group.

Mvulana lives with his mother, Nomagama (55). She is a single parent who was crippled in a car crash in 1996.

Her disability means she can’t work and the family, including Mvulana’s cousin, depend on Nomagama’s R1?200 monthly disability grant to survive.

Mvulana got a part-time job in a clothing shop at Hemingways Mall in East London after his exams last year to help his mother.

They live in a two-roomed shack.

Mvulana wants to be a social worker so he can help others in his village but that depends on passing matric.

In the shop yard they saw that the Daily Dispatch had been delivered. “I had never been this nervous.

The wait killed me,” he says. Mvulana and his friends were the only pupils from their 52-strong Bhongolwethu Senior Secondary School matric class who mustered the courage that morning.

At 6am he rushed to his friends, spread the paper on the floor and looked for their names.

“Yah boy! There is my name, I have passed … I am the man,” he roared.

Mvulana rushed home to break the good news to his mother.

Roosters crowed and nearby, there were screams from a neighbour as another matriculant celebrated his pass.

Nomagama is very proud of her son.

“I never thought I would see this day. He was only three when I had the accident. I am happy for him and hope he can continue his studies,” she says, fighting back tears.

“I don’t know how I am going to raise money for him to go to tertiary school, but God will make a plan.”

He did not get the marks required to apply to university, but his D aggregate means he is eligible for admission for a diploma.

Now he’s looking for a college where he can study towards becoming a social worker or maybe a teacher. – Lubabalo Ngcukana

Lessons learned are her reward

Maybe to some, bagging two B symbols and a chance to study further at a technikon or FET college isn’t a big deal.

But for 21-year-old Sanelisiwe Dlamini from Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal, it means the world.

It’s been a long, hard road for Dlamini.

She failed Grade 11 twice and, she says, made several bad choices along the way.

She fell pregnant in 2008 and failed Grade 11 for the first time.

She took 2009 off school, planning to give birth and raise her child until it was old enough for her to return to school.

Sadly, she miscarried.

Then Dlamini fell pregnant again and gave birth to her son in 2010. It was the same year she’d returned to school, and she failed Grade 11 again.

“Falling pregnant twice is not something I’m proud of. I felt guilty about disappointing my mother. But giving up was never an option.”

Also in 2010, her sister – the family’s sole breadwinner – died.

Late last year, Dlamini’s mother started a job as a domestic worker, and her salary is the family’s only income.

In 2011, Dlamini passed Grade 11 and she attributes her success then and in matric to the teachers at her, school, Havenpark Secondary in Phoenix.

Havenpark is in a very poor part of Phoenix – but its matrics scored a 92% pass rate in 2012.

“Our latest survey shows that 52% of our parents are unemployed. So we are proud to beat the national average by at least 20%,” says principal Kripanath Maraj.

“We had voluntary teaching by our staff throughout the year in the holidays and after school, which helped our pupils,” he says.

Dlamini is ecstatic with her results.

“My dream has been to give my family a better life. Passing matric is like an open gate to that life,” she beams.

She’s made up her mind about what comes next: “Nothing but teaching.

“If I do something else it might take years. The most important thing to me is giving my son a better life and assuming the role of a breadwinner at home.”

– Sphumelele Mngoma

Balance was the secret of success

Carel Wessels attributes his nine distinctions to leading a balanced lifestyle which involved athletics, soccer and running, among other extra-curricular activities.

Wessels, one of Pretoria’s top matric pupils for 2012, is very grateful for the excellent results he achieved.

“I’ve attended the same school (Hatfield Christian Church, a former Model-C school) for my entire life since Grade 0 and I’ve got God to thank for helping me through my studies and also the teachers.

“They were amazing and supported me emotionally and with my school work.”

Wessels got distinctions in English, Afrikaans, Mathematics, Maths (paper 3), Life Orientation, Engineering Graphics and Design, Information Technology, Accounting and Physical Science.

It’s a goal he set himself when he was in Grade 10.

“Throughout the school years I kept my work up to date and made sure that I never left a class not understanding what the subject was about.

“It was important to do other activities such as soccer because you can’t go through school only doing academic work.

“You need to balance your lifestyle to

make sure that you don’t have too much stress which can then impact on your


The level-headed 17-year-old will start a degree in Electronic Engineering at the University of Pretoria this year.

The degree course he has chosen is a four-year course.

“I want to start my own business after getting experience and saving some money after work.

“I want to make a difference by growing the business through investing in my own company.”

His father – also Carel – is an electronic engineer as well.

Wessels celebrated his nine distinctions with his family this week while on holiday in Knysna, in the Western Cape.

He kept his activities there low-key, eating his favourite meal, sushi, and going for boat rides whenever he could. – Xolani Mbanjwa

His results were a family affair

Shahen Ratheepaul (18) always knew he would pass his National Senior Certificate exam.

The question was just how well he would do.

So on Wednesday night, as the hours ticked into Thursday, Ratheepaul was calm as he and about 20 relatives staked out the Engen garage in Blue Lagoon, Durban, waiting for the newspaper that held his results.

Ratheepaul matriculated from Solvista High School in Phoenix.

The atmosphere was festive at Engen, with scores of other eager matrics and their families also waiting for the results.

“I have my grandparents with me, aunts and uncles, everybody is here,” Ratheepaul told City Press excitedly.

It was a particularly special occasion because two of his cousins also wrote matric at the end of last year.

Ratheepaul and his cousins all passed – although they weren’t able to buy any newspapers to see their names in black and white.

He got the good news from a friend of a friend who bought a newspaper at a

different convenience store and called to let him know.

An acquaintance who delivers papers contacted Ratheepaul’s cousins to let them know they, too, had passed.

The rather roundabout way of getting their results was necessary, because management at the Engen garage decided to lock the shop’s doors rather than face what looked like might become a stampede.

Ratheepaul and his family didn’t mind, though. They celebrated with hugs, kisses, champagne and cheering.

The young man is hoping to study biotechnology at the Durban University of Technology this year.

– Sphumelele Mngoma

7 distinctions? That’ll do

Abdullah Soni (18), could not contain his excitement when he learned that he had passed seven of his nine subjects with distinction.

Soni, a matriculant from Crawford

College in Sandton, was hoping to get a

full house of straight As – but he acknowledges seven distinctions is nothing

to scoff at.

Still, he’ll be trying for one more A when he asks for a re-mark of his English scripts. He scored 79% for the subject.

“I believe I will get a distinction after the re-mark.

“I worked very hard this year and I was expecting nine distinctions. Nonetheless, I passed with good marks and I will go on to further my studies.”

He wants to follow in his father’s footsteps – and his sister’s – by becoming a doctor.

He has already received a pre-acceptance letter to study medicine at Wits University.

“I have always wanted to be a doctor and save lives. Now it’s happening and I am excited about it.”

Soni has enjoyed huge support from everyone in his life on his way to becoming one of Crawford Sandton’s top-achieving students.

The school is part of the Crawford Collection, the largest single private school organisation in the country, which has

been operating in South Africa now for

about 20 years.

“I had enormous support from my family. They enrolled me for extra lessons, motivated me to study and ensured I studied systematically.”

His teachers, too, played a significant role in his success.

“They bring out the best in everybody,” he acknowledged. – Zinhle Mapumulo

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