Cash crisis clouds star pupil’s future

2011-12-15 00:00

HE’S one of the pupils who worked hard to achieve high marks and get a bursary, but a lack of money for school fees now means that Grade 12 pupil, Thulani Kheswa’s future is at stake.

Kheswa, of Msunduzi Secondary School, told The Witness that he had not received this year’s report cards. The principal has reportedly threatened to withhold his matric certificate because of outstanding fees.

“I didn’t even get the examination timetable. I had to share with a friend,” he said. Kheswa owes R6 050. The 18-year-old lost his mother in May after a long illness. She was the breadwinner and now he lives with his grandmother at Elandskop.

He said he was discouraged and stressed and felt like giving up.

“I cried a lot. I once lashed out at a teacher because I was too stressed. But people from church would give me comforting words.”

Kheswa has already missed the application period for most tertiary institutions — most of them closed at the end of October.

He and his sister also struggled to find the bus fare for the 45 km trip to school, and his pastor would sometimes drive them there. Despite the odds, he took extra lessons on Saturdays to make sure he got good marks.

“My biggest wish is to get my results and then get a bursary. I excel in my school work and am determined. I just want an opportunity to do something meaningful with my life,” he said.

Kheswa wants to study law or medicine. His Grade 11 final results were three As, three Bs and a C.

His grandmother, Philomena (70), said it broke her heart to see her grandson go through the pain he endured this year. “His mother took them to a school in town because she wanted him to get a better education. We didn’t know she’d be gone too soon.”

Education Department spokesperson Mbali Thusi gave the assurance that Kheswa’s results would be released.

“We’ve already referred the matter to the district for investigations. No pupil should be excluded from taking part in school activities or have his or her results withheld because of the parent’s failure to pay fees.”

She appealed to parents to inform the school if they could not afford fees so that they could be helped.

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