Khayelitsha's top achiever didn't tell her family

2016-01-07 07:30
Namhla Juqu, 17, from the Centre of Science and Technology in Khayelitsha, obtained distinctions in all 7 of her subjects. (Supplied)

Namhla Juqu, 17, from the Centre of Science and Technology in Khayelitsha, obtained distinctions in all 7 of her subjects. (Supplied)

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Cape Town - Namhla Juqu did not tell her parents she was one of the country's top matric performers until the day they had to leave their Khayelitsha home for Johannesburg to attend the awards ceremony.

"I thought maybe it's a mistake, it's not supposed to be me," she said.

"Up until the moment I got here, that's when I felt like 'okay I'm one of the top achievers'."

Although she had worked hard, she had never thought she could be one of the country's best.

"It's just overwhelming because I come from a township. You don't think about these things. You don't think that you could ever be top amongst 800 000 matriculants. It's not something that you think about even when you study."

The 17-year-old was a pupil at the Centre of Science and Technology. She was the second-best performing student in a quintile three school.

Schools in quintiles one, two, and three are no-fee schools, while schools in quintiles four and five are fee-paying schools.

Juqu got distinctions in all seven of her subjects. She got 99% for mathematics and 100% for physical science. She wanted to study Chemical Engineering and had already been accepted at the University of Cape Town.

Juqu said her toughest year was 2014, when she wanted to ensure her Grade 11 results would get her into university.

"In Grade 12 there's a lot of pressure, there is a lot of work, but we don't have enough time because you have to make time for your studies. But at the same time you must make time to fill out the application forms for universities and bursaries," she said.

She applied for two scholarships and was still waiting for a response.

She got the call at the weekend that she was one of the country's top achievers. On Monday, she told her mother that one of the bursaries she had applied for was arranging the trip to Johannesburg.

"I only told her on the day that we were leaving that this is about school. I told her later that this was actually for my academic performance," she said giggling.

"She was surprised and wanted to hug me. This was the first time that my parents got to fly and to stay in a hotel, so this is something amazing for them."

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  matrics 2015

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