First in his family to get a matric, Abdul is a 6-A star

2015-01-06 00:00

ONE of Pietermaritzburg’s top achievers is the first person in his family to get a matric.

Abdul Phiri, whose parents are Malawian, got six distinctions at Nizamia Islamic School, where he studied on a bursary.

“We were poor, life was not good,” said Abdul.

“I had to work hard and I still have to work hard because this isn’t over yet. It is the beginning of another life.”

Abdul said he wants to study either medicine or actuarial science at the University of Cape Town, but is leaning towards medicine.

“I have an opportunity to explore science and have a direct impact on people’s lives.

“I would like to develop medicines to cure rabies and HIV and so on,” said Abdul.

He said his English teacher Mrs Chohan constantly gave him encouragement and taught him valuable life lessons to help him through exams and in the future.

Abdul’s mom Jameela said she did not have to help her son to study as he was hard-working.

Maritzburg College’s top pupil, Shalin Govender, scored distinctions in all eight subjects and has been provisionally accepted to study medicine at Wits.

“It was a great year. It was not hard at all,” Shalin said.

“I was focused and had set goals for myself. I was consistent the whole year and I was expecting good results. The competition was tough, but I didn’t let that get to me.”

He attributes his success to himself, his parents and teachers.

“I chose medicine because I want to help people and animals. With differences in lifestyles and quality of health care, I want to see a healthy South Africa,” he added.

Shalin’s mother Presheena said: “We encouraged him to do his best. He had been consistent in his hard work, which has paid off. He is just a wonderful child.”

The top achiever from Estcourt High School, Mishaal Jagdew, received seven distinctions and is set to study actuarial science at Wits.

Mishaal said he had worked hard for his excellent marks, but was still surprised he had achieved them.

“I made many sacrifices. Every weekend I travelled two hours from Estcourt to Durban for extra maths, English and science lessons. I would wake up at 4.45 am and leave for home at 3 pm,” he said.

Mishaal said he studied during his holidays too and was accepted into the Moses Kotane holiday school.

His mother Yogitha said she often had to tell her son to stop studying because he worked so hard.

“He wanted to do well to help us and he knew we wanted the best for him,” she said.

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