Mother aces matric exams after three failed attempts

2014-01-09 00:00

THREE failed attempts to pass matric had a mother of four in such depths of despair she decided the effort was not worth the failure.

But then came the day that Cynthia Ndlovu (36) from Umlazi gave herself a firm shake, remembering her dream of a better life for herself and her family. Next thing she was enrolled in an Adult Basic Education and Training (Abet) course. And on Tuesday failure was a distant memory when she received her matric certificate, confirming she had obtained two distinctions, and ranked as one of the top students in the Abet category.

This secured her an invitation to the province’s award ceremony for top matric achievers, and a laptop as reward.

She’s got As in Maths and English, Bs in Auxiliary Healthcare, Life Orientation and Economics and Management Science and a C in Natural Science.

“I failed my matric in 1995, 1997 and 1999,” she recounted. She then took a job as a cleaner, but deep down in her heart she knew she wanted more.

She had worked for 10 years as a cleaner — five years at the University of KwaZulu-Natal cleaning chemistry laboratories and students’ accommodation.

“I remember cleaning those labs … I was there long enough to know which chemicals were toxic and which ones were not,” she said.

Ndlovu also took an opportunity to borrow the students’ novels to read as well. “The students used to call me ‘aunt’ even though I was in the same age group as them, just because I was a cleaner.”

But in 2011 she quit and had to think about where to go with her life, as the money she earned basically covered her transport fare.

Ndlovu lives in a two-room house with her children and husband Sihle Dlamini, a part-time worker at a hardware store.

She enrolled at the Eyethu Adult Centre at Zwelihle High School at Umlazi and was the oldest in the class, she said.

But Ndlovu admitted that running a household and being a student at the same time was not a smooth ride.

But she would make sure that once the children were off to school, she stuck to her books and attended classes from 4 pm to 6 pm.

She missed several classes because there were times she did not have taxi fare and had to work extra hard to make-up for lost time.

The hard work eventually paid off.

Ndlovu smiles broadly when she talks about her journey and her future dreams.

She is planning to pursue a qualification in Electrical Engineering at an FET college, but says she has not applied yet because she doubted herself.

“I didn’t think I was going to pass. It was hard.”

She is optimistic about her future. “I know one day that I’ll build myself a beautiful house and I’ll buy myself a car. It’s never too late.”

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