Meet the YOU First Grader winner

By YOU Digital
01 February 2019


Nathan Mokgothu got the votes and stole our collective hearts – get to know the YOU First Grader competition winner

The first day of “big school” is a pretty big deal for a child – and more so for the parents. To make the occasion even more memorable, PEP announced the First Grader competition and sweetened the deal with cash prizes. Thousands of readers entered photos of their adorable, not-so-little-anymore ones, all dressed up in their school uniforms – making the task of choosing a winner a near-impossible one.


Ultimately the votes revealed Nathan Mokgothu (7) from Marshalltown, Joburg stole the hearts of our readers, making him the YOU First Grader winner for 2019.

Clad in his neat uniform the enthusiastic Grade 1 learner from Jeppe Prep posed for the pictures that helped him win R5 000, along with R2 000 for his school. Talk about starting the year on a high note!

His mom, Boitumelo Mokgothu, says she had to go to work early on the day so unfortunately couldn’t take him to school to settle him into his new classroom.

“So I asked his dad, Patrick Umba, to take a few pictures to mark the occasion,” she says. “But he was having problems with his phone so he asked a family friend, Lindi Khumalo, to take snaps of Nathan once they got to school.” Another friend took pics inside the classroom.

Boitumelo, who’s a junior trader at a sports betting company, decided to enter the competition because the money would come in handy for Nathan’s school fees and other things he needed. “Some of the cash will go to my mother, Elizabeth, who’s a teacher in Rustenburg,” Boitumelo says. “She always helps us out and I want to show my gratitude.”

Nathan is fluent in English and Tswana, his mom’s home language. His parents hope he’ll also take an interest in French, Patrick’s mother tongue. The boy enjoys maths but he’s also sporty and takes part in tennis, swimming and ball sports at school. He especially loves soccer.

“He wants to be a policeman one day,” Boitumelo says. “He’s wanted to become a cop ever since they had career day in Grade R last year. “I’m so happy. I used social media to keep reminding my friends to vote.”

YOU readers’ votes won a second prize of R3 000 for Dakalo Kamoi from Dagbreek Primary School in Modimolle, Limpopo.


The third prize of R2 000 went to Irvin Katz from Hartswater, Northern Cape.



Her son, Sakhile, is receiving the R10 000 grand prize from Pep after a random draw of entries sent to YOU and our sister magazines Huisgenoot, Drum and Move! “We plan to invest the money for his education,” Zodwa says. Sakhile’s school, Takheleni Primary in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, gets R6 000.

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