KZN’s best pupil: ‘I’m no genius’

2013-01-04 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S top achiever laughed out loud when she was called a “genius” and “bookworm”.

She was quick to deny she was either, but rather a hard worker.

Jyoti Maharaj (18), the deputy head girl of New West Secondary School in Newlands, Durban, was not only the province’s top matric pupil of 2012, but was also named as the top female pupil in mathematics and physical science.

Her face glowing, despite a long day of being photographed and interviewed, she said: “It still feels unreal. I was hoping to do well, but this exceeds my expectations.”

Maharaj attained 99% in physical science and her lowest mark in all her eight subjects was 91%, in maths paper 3.

“I don’t actually think I have brains,” she modestly told The Witness.

Maharaj said she had drawn up a study timetable at the beginning of the year and harnessed all her discipline to stick to it.

During the exams, her routine after school would be to get some rest, have something to eat and then be glued to her books.

“All you need is to be self-motivated. It all comes down to hard work.”

Her advice to those still studying was that pupils should put more emphasis on their weaker subjects.

Her “weaker” subject was Afrikaans, which she managed to pass with 94%.

For this youngster, the future is bright and a tough decision awaits — to choose between a career in accounting or medicine.

But she said she didn’t think she had the “guts” to become a doctor.

And although universities are lining up to have her, she said she had chosen to study closer to home, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

“I’m cautious about going to Cape Town,” she added

Maharaj ’s mother, Asha, said she was over the moon about her daughter’s achievements.

“It hasn’t sunk in,” said the proud mother.

“When I was in matric, I battled.”

She said her daughter’s intelligence was a gift.

Denying that her daughter was a bookworm, she said Maharaj would watch television, play on her PlayStation and listen to music before getting stuck into her books.

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