'He has become a father to us' - Bergville besties pay tribute to varsity benefactor

2016-11-25 12:21
Amangwane High School pupils Lindokuhle Mazibuko, 18 and his best friend Samukelo Nxumalo, 17, received 16 distinctions between the two of them. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Amangwane High School pupils Lindokuhle Mazibuko, 18 and his best friend Samukelo Nxumalo, 17, received 16 distinctions between the two of them. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – Lindokuhle Mazibuko and Samukelo Nxumalo have both proven that it is not where you come from, but where you are going, that matters.

Both from rural Bergville, the boys have had to adapt to Cape Town's majestic scenery, switch from isiZulu to English and Afrikaans and ditch their home-cooked phuthu pap for lasagne.

In January, News24 reported that Pinetown's Peter Harvey, who read about Amangwane High School principal Nhlanhla Dube and his two star pupils on News24, had decided to pay for their university education.

Lindokuhle received nine As and Samukelo received seven in the 2015 matric exams.

The pair, who met in Grade R, had both been accepted to study at the University of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.

In a bid to produce quality matriculants, Dube had developed a 6-4-6 turnaround strategy for his matric pupils. According to his strategy, pupils had to be in class from 06:00 until 14:00, take a break until 16:00 and then attend class until 18:00.

Challenging year

Despite the enormous challenges Dube faced, including using his own money to make repairs and maintain the school, Amangwane High School managed to get a 92% matric pass rate in 2015.

Mazibuko is studying medicine, while Nxumalo has taken up earth science.

The pair said they had found the year challenging, but had managed to excel in their new environment.

Lindokuhle, now 19, said: "I was used to eating phuthu pap and all of a sudden there was lasagne and all the food that does not make me full."

He said he also found it challenging to make the transition from isiZulu to English and Afrikaans.

"When I got here I got a call from the dean and he offered to mentor me every month."

The medical student said he had taken a liking to HIV/Aids research.

"I approached a virologist and I told him about an idea that I had about HIV/Aids and he offered me to join the research team that is busy with research on HIV/Aids. My only challenge is that I do not have the books I need to catch up to the PhD students who are doing the research."

Looking forward to 2nd year

Lindokuhle thanked Harvey, South African businessman Anant Singh and DJ Euphonik for believing in him. 

"Gogo is very happy with my performance, she will be slaughtering a cow for me in December. I am so grateful to everyone who has committed to ensuring that I succeed. Mr Harvey, in particular, has become a father to us."

Samukelo said he was looking forward to his second year at university.

"The highlight of my year was being exposed to the geology field."

He also thanked Harvey for the assistance.

"He believed in us even though we came from a rural area and there was a possibility that we could fail. We will continue to work hard and make everyone proud."

Harvey said he was incredibly pleased with the boys' performance.

Extreme dedication

"When I spoke to those boys for the first time, I immediately picked up that I was speaking to people who were really determined to succeed. Now and again, I go to Cape Town to check on them and take them out to lunch and I must say I am extremely proud of them."

Harvey said he was over the moon that the boys had showed extreme dedication.

"I told them that I had one request for them. That while I am still alive, I want to be in the front row seats at their graduation ceremony."

The boys' former school principal, Dube, said he too was proud of the boys.

"I am in regular contact with the boys. We have been doing computer classes since they got back. Every holiday, Samukelo flies to Joburg to work for a hydrology company and I am told he is doing well."

Dube said he had another high-performing pupil, Vukani Khumalo, who was also going to study in Stellenbosch next year.

He said that, subsequent to the News24 report, the school had received nine laptops, which pupils were using to practice their computer skills.

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  cape town  |  education

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