Losing my father helped me realise how poor I really was - social grant recipient with 3 distinctions

2017-01-10 16:11
Khanyisile Mlangeni, 17, has earned three distinctions and wants to study a Bachelor of Science at the University of Witwatersrand. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Khanyisile Mlangeni, 17, has earned three distinctions and wants to study a Bachelor of Science at the University of Witwatersrand. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - When Khanyisile Mlangeni's father died during her second term in matric in 2016, she lost her only source of transport money to get to school, which is about 45 minutes away.

Get your matric results on News24

She was forced to walk the distance every day, often getting to school exhausted, but she soldiered on.

"His passing was difficult for me because I received money for transport to go to school from him, so since he passed on there was no-one who gave me that money that he used to give me. I had to walk to get to school.

"It was painful because I would get to school feeling tired... but I survived because of the programmes that helped me and motivated me to keep on working hard," she said.

Mlangeni, who has also lost her mother, now lives with her grandmother. She and her younger sister depend on their grandmother's social grant to cope.

She credits the department of social development's after-school programme, Isibindi, with her matric results success.

"The programme helped me and motivated me to keep on working hard," she said.

READ: Govt to help matrics on social grants

Funding for achievers

Isibindi helps Grade 12 learners who come from youth or child-headed households by assigning child and youth care workers to help them with their school work at more than 300 sites across the country.

On Tuesday morning, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini congratulated Mlangeni and 11 other learners from Gauteng on achieving outstanding results and announced that the learners would be receiving funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to pursue their tertiary studies.

Out of the 674 620 full-time pupils who registered to write the 2016 National Senior Certificate exam, 188 758 were social grant beneficiaries, and of that group, 178 411 sat for the exam, she said.

Dlamini said 83% of those who wrote the exams had qualified for tertiary studies.

"Despite the conditions of our vulnerable children, 41% managed to receive a bachelor's pass."

She said the majority of learners who had obtained bachelor's passes were from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Mlangeni was among them.


The 17-year-old obtained distinctions in mathematics, physical science and life orientation. She said she was slightly disappointed as she had expected to also get a distinction for life sciences.

Losing her father had dealt her family a huge blow and she wanted to prove to herself that she would overcome her grief by doing well at school, she said.

"I walked alone and I used to think a lot. And I would see cars passing by, seeing women driving them and I would be like: 'One day that will be me'. That's what motivated me.

"It isn't a good thing to say, but I feel like God knew what he was doing when he took my father because that motivated me and reminded me of how poor I was."

She also hopes that her sister will be motivated by her performance and take a leaf from her book.

"It will inspire my little sister to do better than me, because [when I got the results] she was like: 'You got three, well I'm going to get seven,' and that's what I wanted in the first place."

She said her grandmother was surprised by her results.

"I used to fail maths so my grandmother wasn't expecting this. She is super happy," she said.

Read more on:    education  |  matric 2016

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.