Excelling in tough times

2015-01-06 00:00

FOR many top achievers, matric was a triumph over tough times, as they were mourning the loss of a beloved parent.

Persevering through the hurt of losing his father a year before matric, Westville Boys’ High pupil Akshay Rampersad (18) achieved eight distinctions and plans to study actuarial science.

“My dad was my role model and the person I wanted to be like. He knew I wanted to study actuarial science, and it was what he wanted me to do. It was hard to get through it, but with the support of my mom and all my teachers I knew I could do well,” he said.

With the memory of her motivating mom, who died just six months before she started matric, carrying her through, Suwayfa Abdul Karrim of Crossmoor Secondary also earned eight distinctions.

She is now looking forward to studying a BComm at the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal.

“My dad always gave me guidance and when I didn’t have stationery he would always make a plan for me. My mom also always motivated me to do my best since I started school; her passing was very sad,” she said.

Vuyo Hlongwane, deputy headboy and top achiever at Ladysmith High, received seven distinctions.

Deemed a very bright boy by the school principal, Christo Pieterse, Hlongwane’s journey was not easy.

When his mother died while he was in Grade 8, he and his younger sister moved in with his aunt.

“I decided I wanted to work hard to make my mom proud,” he said.

He said he will be studying chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town and has been offered sponsorships.

He added that many teachers had helped him through grades 8 and 9, but it was Mrs Law and Mrs Reddy, who helped him through matric.

“In the middle of maths paper one, I had a nervous breakdown. After the exam I went outside and just hugged Mrs Law and she gave me faith that I could continue my final exams and do well.”

Hlongwane’s father, Sibusiso, said he was extremely proud of how well his son had done and would continue to support him.

Maritzburg College pupil Lonwabo Lubanga from Margate received seven distinctions and will also study actuarial science at UCT.

He said he did it for his father, who died in 2013. “If he was still alive I would tell him that ‘I love you and one day I want to be a good man like you’. I hope he is proud of me,” he said.

“There was a big competition among the pupils and that was motivating. I wanted to get great results to go to UCT and I am excited I reached my goals. I told myself that I’m in charge of my future.”

Lubanga said he chose actuarial sciences because “I am good and passionate about mathematics and science”.

His mother, Lulama, praised him for his commitment and said she knew he would excel in his studies.

“After his father’s death I thought he would be deterred, but he pulled through. He’s self-motivated. I’m proud of him,” she said.

Ryan Somai (18) of Raisethorpe High wants to take his passion for cars to the next level by studying mechanical engineering and one day work for a car manufacturer in Germany. His favourite car is the Lamborghini Aventador.

Somai, who earned seven As, lost his mother when he was in Grade 8 and has striven to make her proud with great results ever since.

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