Top achievers: How they did it

2018-01-07 06:03
Takalani Bambela from Tshivhase Secondary School in Limpopo recieved the Top achiever award in Mathematics and Physical Science. Picture: Rosetta Msimango

Takalani Bambela from Tshivhase Secondary School in Limpopo recieved the Top achiever award in Mathematics and Physical Science. Picture: Rosetta Msimango

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Takalani Bambela may be a matriculant from a poor school, but his achievement has humbled peers from affluent schools across the country.

Raised by his grandmother, 17-year-old Bambela raised the flag of his Tshivhase Secondary School in Limpopo, scooping national awards in three different categories: a national top achiever in maths and physical science and third place for best-performing pupil in quintile 2 schools in the province, a category of poor schools.

He told City Press that putting in a lot of hard work earlier in the year was key to his success.

“I had a lot of support from my family and teachers.

“I also believed I could do it,” he said.

He was not put off by their poorly resourced school library and the fact that he had to learn in an overcrowded classroom of about 80 pupils.

He wants to study actuarial sciences at the University of Witwatersrand this year
if accepted.

Yongezwa Mbayise wants to pursue a career in medicine at Wits University or opt for urban and regional planning.

She obtained eight distinctions at Johannesburg’s St Andrew’s School for Girls. Mbayise scored distinctions in English, isiZulu, maths, life orientation, dramatic arts, geography, life sciences and advanced programme mathematics.

She was among 112 130 matric pupils who sat for exams administered by the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) in 2017. The IEB Class of 2017 achieved 98.76% compared with 98.67% in 2016.

“The most important thing is to help people in the world and find a way to assist society,” she said, adding that her final results reflected the hard work she put in throughout the year.

Her proud mother Tumeka Bikitsha (52) said it was not easy to raise Yongezwa but what her daughter has achieved is overwhelming.

“I always told her that nothing is impossible and she must not lose sight of what she wants to achieve.”

Tumeka urged single parents, such as herself, to “walk the journey” with their children and be there in their failures and successes.

Janke van Dyk is the top achiever and the overall best matriculant in quintile 5 – a category of a well-resourced school.

Van Dyk (18) matriculated at Belville High School in the Western Cape. She plans to study chemical engineering at Stellenbosch University.

She described her achievement as a bit of a “shock and yet exciting at the same time”.


Her advice to the 2018 class is “to work hard and prepare early in the year for exams”.

“Allow yourself to have enough time to study every subject. Revise your work every day,” Van Dyk said.

Mafitiso Reamohetse (18) from Lehana Secondary in Mount Fletcher, Eastern Cape, was named the top achiever in the category of quintile 1 schools – also a poor schools’ category.


“I made a lot of sacrifices. I didn’t have time to play with friends. I’m glad that I’ve managed to put my school on the map,” he said.

He will study actuarial sciences at the University of Cape Town.

Anza Tshipetane (18), who matriculated at Mbilwi Secondary School in Limpopo, became the top achiever for quintile 4 schools – those classified as better resourced than quintiles 1 to 3 schools.


Tshipetane said she was proud of herself because she managed to beat others coming from township and urban schools falling under the same category.

She will be studying medicine at UCT.

Read more on:    education  |  youth

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