Reginald Champala shines against all odds

By Drum Digital
07 January 2015

Reginald Champala (18) of Etwatwa, east of Johannesburg, scored 100 % in four matric subjects.

The shy, yet bright Reginald obtained full marks in geography, life sciences, mathematics and physical science.

The Dr Harry Gwala Secondary School learners in Benoni, together with Sigourney Lishman from the Afrikaanse Hoer Meisie Skool in Pretoria, were recognised at an event hosted by the Gauteng Department of Education. The ceremony was held at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Tuesday.

Reginald and Sigourney were the top achievers in Gauteng. Sigourney got nine distinctions and an average of 95 %.

Reginald attributed his success to his mother Martha (57), and two siblings Sellinah (30) and Thembekile (25). “They respected my space and time to study, and travelled with me when I had to come to Johannesburg for enrichment programmes,” he said.

Reginald was Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s special guest at the prize-giving ceremony. He was honoured for being the Top Achiever in a Quintile One school (a non-fee paying school in the poorest community).

Motshekga announced that the 2014 national matric pass rate of 75,8 % “sadly has a drop of

2,5 %” from the previous year.

Reginald plans to further his studies at Wits University. He says he wants to be a professor in mathematics. The Gauteng Department of Education has given Reginald a R300 000 bursary to pursue his goal.

During the prize-giving ceremony at the Linder Auditorium, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi surprised Reginald’s mother by awarding her. He applauded Martha for supporting Reginald despite being a single, uneducated parent.

By Thembisile Makgalemele

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