Daily 36km trek pays off: Zinhle Jiane matriculates with bachelor’s pass

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Zinhle Jiane is off to university. Photo: Yoliswa Sobuwa
Zinhle Jiane is off to university. Photo: Yoliswa Sobuwa


Waking up at 4am to walk 16km to school (and then 16km home in the afternoon) has paid off for Zinhle Jiane, who achieved a bachelor’s matric pass.

The 18-year-old Jiane, who lives with her 78-year-old grandmother in Waaikraal on the outskirts of Delmas, Mpumalanga, was one of the 71 582 Grade 12 pupils who sat for their matric exams in the province. It achieved a 76.8% matric pass rate, recording the third-lowest pass rate in the country, but it was still a 2.9% improvement from last year.

READ: Class of 2022 achieves a pass rate of 80.1%

Jiane’s school, Mafa Max Motloung Secondary School, had a 97% pass rate.

She said:

I am excited about my results, especially because I gave it my all and wanted to show people that your background should not define you. I was not bothered by the long walk to school because I knew that school was my only way out of poverty.

Waaikraal has no high school of its own, so pupils travel long distances to access education, which some grew tired of doing.

Transport is also an issue, and when Jiane spoke to City Press in November, she said there was little to no service delivery in their area.

READ: Grade 12 pupil treks 36km to school

She reported that there were no proper roads and no electricity, and said that they sometimes fetched water from the river and that she studied by candlelight.

After City Press published her story, a number of people reached out to help:

I received a bike from Epi-Use [an HR management company] and I am expecting a bursary from the Tsabedze Foundation and from Stellenbosch University, where I spoke to Professor Jonathan Jansen, who said I should submit my June and trial exam results. I have also sent my final matric results.

The indomitable Jiane wants to study environmental science.

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