‘Thank you ma’am’

2012-01-19 00:00

MIRACLES do happen. After he failed Grade 11 accounting with a miserable 33%, the dedication of an outstanding teacher saw Lungisani Hlophe (18) get 100 percent for accounting in KwaZulu-Natal for his final exams.

Hlophe’s miracle story is testimony to the perseverance of his teacher Ntombenhle Mbanjwa (39) from Tshanibezwe High School in Bergville, who recognised her student’s potential.

Not only did she make sure her student passed with flying colours, but she also came to the rescue when he had no money to catch a bus which would take him to university and the dream of a new life.

Mbanjwa, a dedicated teacher, saw in 2010 that Hlophe was doing well in all his subjects and yet he was not applying himself to accounting. Mbanjwa asked him to come to her for extra lessons.

She said: “I invited him to come for extra lessons on a Saturday, so he and a few serious students came and we revised all the past papers and then Lungisani asked me if I would come and teach him on Sundays as well. I knew he would do well .... I was so very happy for him.”

Hlophe’s top marks got him an award and a bursary from SAICA Thuthuka bursary programme.

Although the generous bursary covers most expenses such as tuition, books, hostel fees and a monthly stipend, he had no money to get to Cape Town.

Right: Hlophe’s dedicated teacher Ntombenhle Mbanjwa coached him after he failed his accounting in Grade 11 to achieving 100 percent in the subject a year later.

Mbanjwa said: “Lungisani phoned me and asked if I could help him. I knew he has no-one else to turn to.”

Mbanjwa dug out the fare from her teacher’s salary to pay for the bus fare, and organised for Hlophe to get from Bergville to Durban to catch the bus to Cape Town.

Hlophe spoke to The Witness: “I am very happy. Mrs Mbanjwa is my favourite teacher, she always believed in me and she was prepared to help me. To me she is like a second mother. I am so grateful to her.”

Hlophe had never been on a long distance bus ride and he was overwhelmed when he saw the huge University campus and considered the changes in his life.

“I am very excited but I will miss my family because they are so far away. I have to succeed because they are counting on me.”

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