Excelling against all odds

2015-01-07 00:00

FOR Sphelele Zondi (18), computers, electricity and water were a luxury during his matric year.

He said his hard-working physical science teacher, Agerem Ogunyubi, often had to bring borrowed equipment for the pupils to perform scientific experiments.

Zondi, who has seven siblings, rose above his circumstances and was hailed as the top pupil against adversity in the uMgungundlovu District.

“Even though our school had very little, our principal really did his best to help us and that is why we did well,” said Zondi.

During her matric year, Sphethelo Mthethwa (18) from Nongoma woke up at 3.30 am to study.

The former boarder at Mathunjwa High School said her father is the only breadwinner and she is hoping to turn things around at home.

She was named the top pupil in the category of physical science against adversity.

“I am going to study chemical engineering and help my father support the family because my mother doesn’t work,” she said.

Mthethwa said she was forced to study by candle light because sometimes there was no electricity at school.

Senzo Xaba (18) said once he starts working, he is going to build his unemployed parents a house.

Xaba was named the top pupil in accounting against adversity.

The youngest of five children living in Mgwavuma said he wants to study ophthalmology.

“I was inspired by a Facebook friend, who is an optometrist, to study this. I love everything that has to do with eyes,” he said.

The top pupil in maths against adversity was awarded to Nhlonipo Shembe (18) from Nongoma. He said he owed his success to keeping good friends, being positive and never giving up.

“I am going to study electrical engineering at UKZN,” said Shembe.

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za

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