KZN mom's spaza shop struggle inspired matriculant

2017-01-06 10:03
Sibongile Mdaki, 17, says it was her mother's struggle of selling items like sweets and snacks at her spaza shop that pushed her to work harder. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Sibongile Mdaki, 17, says it was her mother's struggle of selling items like sweets and snacks at her spaza shop that pushed her to work harder. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - Seeing her mother’s struggle to sell sweets and snacks from her spaza shop so they could buy bread motivated Sibongile Mdaki to work hard during her 2016 matric year.

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“She said to me she does not want me to suffer like she did,” Mdaki said as tears welled in her eyes.

On Thursday, she was announced as the fourth-best matric pupil in KwaZulu-Natal’s best-performing district, Amajuba.

Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana announced the provincial pass rate of 66.4%. Amajuba got a 77.4% pass rate.

In 2015, the district obtained a 58.8% pass rate and was rated number eight in the province.

Mixed emotions

Mdaki, 17, is a pupil at Zama High School in Osizweni, Newcastle. She said her mother, Sinomvula Ndlovu, was raising more than 12 siblings, including distant cousins.

“My mother owns a spaza shop near the same high school where I matriculated at. Sometimes she sells sweets, chips and snacks to the pupils and uses the money to buy bread for us.”

Mdaki described her matric year with mixed emotions.

“I lost three people that meant a lot to me,” she said wiping tears from her eyes as she recounted the deaths of her grandmother, uncle, and aunt.

“I don’t know how I got through the pain. It just happened. My uncle was sick and suffered a stroke. My gran was sick, and my aunt had diabetes.”

While Mdaki knew she did well, on Thursday morning she still had not had a chance to see her name in a newspaper’s matric results section because she had to attend the event.

“I know that I came fourth in the district,” said the aspiring electrical engineer.


She had already applied for a spot at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. UKZN got back to her on Thursday and said they had a place for her. She, however, wanted to wait for Wits to respond.

She had applied for bursaries and for help from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

Her mother Sinomvula Ndlovu and principal, OV Kubeka, pushed her to work hard.

“My principal said to me he wanted nothing below A+ from me. My mother told me that she wanted me to become something in life, she does not want me to suffer like she did.”

Once she had become a qualified engineer, she intended to upgrade their dilapidated eight-roomed house in Osizweni township, she said, her eyes filled with tears.

Her advice to the class of 2017: “Work hard so that you can reap the fruits of hard work. Hard work pays and it is a good thing because you get to receive awesome prizes and bursaries easily.

“Bursaries will come to you. You don’t even have to apply for one.”

Read more on:    durban  |  education  |  matric 2016  |  good news

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