Nomzamo High’s top achiever

2019-01-17 06:01
Nasiphi Makwedini (21) was the top Grade 12 learner at Nomzamo High School last year.

Nasiphi Makwedini (21) was the top Grade 12 learner at Nomzamo High School last year.

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“Perseverance and ambitions are paramount if you want to succeed in life. If you are a quitter, you’ll never achieve anything.”

Those are the wise, strong words from Nasiphi Makwedini (21) who beat the odds to obtain four distinctions in last year’s National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. The Nomzamo High School learner was the school’s top achiever, hitting 82% in isiXhosa, 83% in history, 88% in tourism and 85% in life orientation.

The mother of two children, aged five and one, will now further her studies in law at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

The road to write her final exams was not an easy one for Makwedini, who was forced to squat with friends around Nomzamo as her home in Gugulethu was too far for her to travel every day.

Makwedini arrived at Nomzamo High as a Grade 10 learner in August 2016, after she was forced to relocate from the Eastern Cape as a result of a family feud.

“I could not find any school to enrol at in Gugulethu, so I settled in Nomzamo. I had to change subjects which I had been taking in the Eastern Cape and started with maths literacy and tourism as new subjects. Surprisingly, I received a certificate for my performance in tourism at the end of that year,” she recalled.

Makwedini fell ill in 2013 and had to drop out of school, and later realised she was pregnant with her first child, whom she gave birth to in 2014.

“After I gave birth in March, it was too late to return to school, so my mother found a college for me to attend. But we later realised the institution was not registered [with the Department of Basic Education]. We had wasted money and I had to quit,” Makwedini said.

In 2015 she took the brave step to return to school, but had to redo Grade 9. “It was a frustrating period, as I was already 19 years old. But I had no choice but to do as I was told. I studied hard because I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”

Meanwhile, she also lost two aunts to whom she was very close, with one aunt’s funeral being held on her birthday. “After this I fell ill; I think it was because of all the tension. But my ambition was to pass Grade 12 and I refused to give up,” Makwedini related.

“In 2017 I became pregnant with my second child. I was lonely and crying every day, but I would comfort myself with my books. I realised that being pregnant is not the end of the world. To change my own situation, I went to school and studied hard. I knew I could get five or six distinctions, not because I was clever but because I worked hard.”

She has never regarded any subject as difficult, never felt inferior at school or undermined by anyone. “I had no competition at school other than myself. Everything starts with me and anyone out there who may be going through challenges, I offer you this advice: please never give up! You’re never too old for education. At primary school I did not enjoy school as the other children did not like me, but that did not discourage me,” said Makwedini.

She believes hard work does not kill anyone, but rather gives you countless rewards at the end of the day.

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