From township to matric Top 10

By Drum Digital
06 January 2016

He was named one of South Africa’s top performing matriculants despite growing up in the Ramaphosa informal settlement in Boksburg, Gauteng.

Ernest Molelle (18) is a shining example of how, with hard work, a person can overcome difficult circumstances to achieve their goals.

His marks were the third-highest in the country in Physical Science, and he was also the third-best-performing learner in a Quintile 2 school.

“It was a struggle for me to get to the top but I changed my line of thinking and realised that exams are not just about writing the paper, but also having self-respect,” he says, “I had to learn to listen, be punctual, and respect my self and others. All these contributed to the success of my matric year.”

Earnest achieved eight distinctions and says he took on extra subjects at school because he was willing to push himself and take on the challenge.

“I studied for four hours a day on each subject, making sure that I would cover a term’s work in one day,” he says, “I like being organised and I received a lot of support from friends and family.”

Ernest says it was a challenge rising above the hopelessness of his community, which is infested with drugs, gangsters and poverty.

“When you are surrounded by hopelessness, your mind is robbed of its full capacity,” he says, “I had to surround myself with positive people like my friends and family as well as the teachers who motivated me and were in the same mindset as me.”

Ernest says he lost his mother when he was a very young and doesn’t live with his father, so he attributes his success to his aunt, Agnes Molelle, whom he says gave him endless support.

“Support comes in many forms, even the smallest things count,” he says, “she would bring me water while I was studying, she would encourage me when I didn’t meet my targets at school and she would always pray with me and for me.”

Ernest encourages other young people to choose their friends wisely and be careful of the company they keep.

“Young people often befriend people that influence their behaviour. There were people in community who liked to go to parties and drink alcohol but I surrounded myself with people who were committed to working hard. That’s why I am receiving these awards today.”

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