Top achiever: College pupil wins scholarship to study in Canada

2010-08-05 00:00

GROWING up without his father, who died in a car accident when he was only a year old, and later losing his mother in the same way last year, Sidingo Mahlobo (17) had every excuse to give up on life.

But this Maritzburg College grade 11 pupil has proven that where there is a will, there is a way.

Sidingo has won a full scholarship to finish his matric in Canada. This is likely to open more opportunities for him to pursue his tertiary education abroad as well.

“I applied to study overseas through an international organisation called United World Colleges [UWC] last year. My sister studied in the U.S. through the same programme. She encouraged me to apply.”

Sidingo said applicants were required to write an essay on current affairs, and give an opinion on their local government.

This was followed by a demanding selection process that involved facing a panel of representatives from UWC.

“In the beginning I was nervous because sometimes you judge yourself against other people. Through my interactions with different people during the interview process some would come across as maybe boastful, which can be intimidating.

“But I kept reminding myself when I was alone before the judges or writing the essays, that I would be judged on me. So I tried to be myself.”

College deputy principal Ann McLoughlin described Sidingo as an unassuming young man who would never boast about his achievements.

“He has always been at the top of his class. I taught him English in grade 8 and he writes very well … He came as a little boy from Bergville and he has really come out of his shell. His primary school thought very highly of him and we will be sad to see him go,” added McLoughlin.

Sidingo’s paternal aunt is his guardian. His two sisters, who are 19 and 22, together with his step sisters are also helping to raise him.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason and I see this as an opportunity to make something of myself. And in a way honour my parents for raising me.

“I wish my mother were here to enjoy this moment. She sacrificed a lot for me to be here and it would have been a good way to pay her back,” said Sidingo.

He leaves for Canada at the end of the month.

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