Life-threatening heart condition couldn’t stop St John’s College top achiever

2016-12-30 10:46
Brandon MacKenzie of St John's College in Johannesburg overcame his life-threatening heart disease and attained nine distinctions in this year's IEB matric exams. (Supplied)

Brandon MacKenzie of St John's College in Johannesburg overcame his life-threatening heart disease and attained nine distinctions in this year's IEB matric exams. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - After being diagnosed with a life-threatening heart disease a few years ago, Brandon MacKenzie of St John’s College has exemplified the spirit of perseverance and humility. 

MacKenzie bagged nine distinctions in this year’s IEB matric exams. He was diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome and Long QT syndrome - both electrophysiological cardiac disorders - when he was 13-years-old and has undergone numerous operations across the world. 

"I believe in never presuming your place in society, taking it for granted, or using it as a certain foundation for your endeavours, because it is an abstract reassurance," MacKenzie said.

He attained distinctions in Afrikaans, English, French, Geography, Life Orientation, Mathematics, Physical Science, TCL Practical 7 and Advanced Programme Mathematics.

Brandon also achieved an Outstanding Achievement - coming in the top 5% of learners in six or more subjects and in the top 1% for Afrikaans and Physical Sciences. He achieved an average of 91%.

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"If you are prepared early for your preliminary examinations, most of your studying for finals is already complete. Long-term memory is the key."

Due to his heart condition, Brandon had to give up sport, which he described as the lowest point of his schooling career.  

Despite this, he presented a paper at the annual South African Physics Institute Conference in June and was considered for an Alan Grey Orbis Foundation Fellowship Award.

"I always found ways of compensating for my incapabilities by finding new capabilities, such as discovering my passion for music when my sporting participation was prohibited," MacKenzie said. 

He wants to become a mechanical engineer with multi-linguistic capabilities and plans to further his studies at the University of Pretoria.

MacKenzie said he did not agree with the violence at universities during Fees Must Fall protests. 

"I recognise the need for accessible education, and that the requests must be heard, however, I do not agree with the violence that ensues or the additional protests that have been provoked as a result of it, on other matters."

His interests revolve around interconnectivity, namely in the distribution and design of infrastructure and transport networking.

He said he wanted to use his networking skills to change South Africa for the better. 

"I understand that South Africa is still a highly classist society and that it requires social integration within the public. Equal accessibility means equal opportunities, and I would like to contribute to this change, by whatever means suits it best, through the usage of public networking."

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

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