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Lavis Vilakazi got his matric at 78

By Faeza
15 July 2016

THE last time he was in a classroom was in 1955, but 58 years later he made the brave decision to go back to school and work towards getting his matric. Today Lavis Vilakazi (78), from Zondi in Soweto, is one of the pupils who passed their matric last year.


Speaking to Move! magazine, proud Lavis explains that due to circumstances beyond his control he had to quit school and be a breadwinner for his mother and siblings. He was only 14 years old when his father passed away, and had to step into his shoes. It was not easy, and he stayed in school for as long as he could but when he was in Standard 5 (now Grade 7) he had to drop out. Since then Lavis has had an insatiable thirst for education, and vowed to go back to school.


It was in 2013 when he decided to go back to school. Lavis recalls how supportive his family and friends were. "Even though a lot of people were positive, there were also a handful of negative people that told me I will never pass matric." He says being in a classroom where he was surrounded by children who are the same age as his grandchildren was intimidating, but he chose not to focus on that.   "I had to cut back on TV and MY family was very understanding and supportive." Lavis says his family understood the goal he wanted to achieve and why it was so important to him.


Lavis waited very nervously for the day of the matric results and it was a moment of pure joy and pride when he saw his name in the newspaper. "It was a dream come true, as my hard work had finally paid off," he says, adding, "I have proven to those who were negative about me going back to school that age is not a hindrance. I believe nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it".


Lavis is currently pursuing a course in Theology. He is a pastor at the Evangelical Brethren Church and has been a pastor for 50 years. He says that is why he believes that this was God’s will. He says that he loves having his family together. Lavis has six children and 10 grandchildren.