Rural pupil beats odds to come top

2013-01-04 00:00

AN unassuming boy from rural Estcourt has beaten the odds to become KwaZulu-Natal’s top science pupil, with seven distinctions.

Raised by his mother, an unemployed widow, and living a hand-to-mouth existence, Mbusiseni Kubeka showed character and determination to achieve 100% in both science and maths.

He lives with older brothers who don’t have permanent jobs.

“Most people say it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character,” genius Albert Einstein once said.

Kubeka, of Sizathina High School, had no access to a proper library or laboratory, but he did not let that get in the way of his dream to become a doctor.

“I’m so happy because I didn’t think this will ever happen to me,” Kubeka said.

“We didn’t even have the privilege to have the Internet for research and extra reading, and there is no Internet café where I come from.”

Kubeka told The Witness that he had worked hard and borrowed textbooks from school friends for his extra reading.

He also tutored his peers and pupils from neighbouring schools.

“I love the subject [science] because it’s practical,” he said.

To make sure that he arrived early, he would leave the house at 5 am to walk to school and usually came back after sunset.

Kubeka wants to study medicine at UKZN and is hoping to get a bursary.

“My wish is to further my studies because I know that half of my happiness will come from me becoming a doctor.

“I’d love to get a sponsor because I know my family cannot afford it.”

Hs next big dream was to become a scientist one day and to discover something phenomenal, he added.

Yesterday, Kubeka was awarded a laptop and stationery by Education MEC Senzo Mchunu for his achievements. He is the first person in his family to own a laptop.

He thanked his family for their support.

His mother, Ntombi Kubeka (56), couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I’m so happy. I’m so happy,” she repeated.

“Sometimes when you’re poor, you don’t expect any good to happen to you. But God has shown that He loves me,” she said.

Ntombi Kubeka told The Witness that her son’s best friends had always been books and that he had never disappointed her.

“He’s got a good heart.”

She said that Kubeka lost his father when he was 11 years old.

She earns money by making grass brooms when her land is cultivated.

“I wish for my son what he wishes for himself more than anything, and that is to become a doctor,” she said.

Idrees Jhazbhay, of Kingsway High School in Amanzimtoti, was KwaZulu-Natal’s top maths pupil with a 100% pass.

Idrees, who wrote maths, maths 3 and additional maths, said maths was his passion and scoring the highest marks in the province was the pinnacle of his high school journey.

“Last year was definitely an apex of my maths life,” he said. “Maths comes naturally to me, but obviously it comes with practice to avoid mistakes.”

The Education Department said the percentage of registered candidates passing maths at 40% and above increased by 29,6% in 2012.

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