Eastern Cape pupil passes matric from her hospital bed

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Naomi de Booi,18, wrote her final two exam papers from a critical unit of Netcare 911 Greenacres Hospital after she was diagnosed with diabetes ketones mid exams. (Supplied)
Naomi de Booi,18, wrote her final two exam papers from a critical unit of Netcare 911 Greenacres Hospital after she was diagnosed with diabetes ketones mid exams. (Supplied)
  • Naomi de Booi has been in and out of hospital most of her life since she was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1 at the age of 4.
  • In December, when she was left to write her final two exam papers, the doctor discovered a complication and she was hospitalised.
  • Due to her comorbidity, Naomi spent the 2020 academic year confined to her home.

Despite writing two exam papers at a critical unit of a hospital, a determined Riebeek College Girl's High School pupil in Kariega (formerly Uitenhage), obtained her matric certificate and obtained a bachelor's pass after following a strict study routine.

Life has not been easy for resilient Naomi de Booi, 18, who has been in and out of hospital most of her life since she was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1 when she was 4 years and 6 months old.

In December, when she had two papers left to write - English Paper 3 and Afrikaans Paper 3 - her doctor discovered that she had diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious diabetes complication and admitted her to hospital.

Due to her comorbidity, Naomi, was confined to her home for the greater part of last year.

Asked how she managed this, the young girl said: "It was not easy. As a child I used to get sick more than I did now, as a teenager. I guess that trained me to become a resilient person and push through with everything. I still remember how I was taught to be responsible for catching up on work I missed from Grade 1, and that has stuck with me ever since. I guess accepting my condition has taught me not to let it get in my way of fulfilling my dreams."

READ HERE | Matric 2020: Experts offer 4 suggestions to fix SA's education system

Now she plans to register for an intermediate phase teaching course at the University of South Africa.

"I have a passion for teaching and I would also be killing two birds with one stone, because I'd be acquiring the skill of teaching both children, which I love and teaching people about the Bible in my ministry as a Jehovah's Witness," she told News24.

Naomi's proud father, Ndumiso de Booi, said the news of her hospitalisation terrified him and Naomi's mother, Thami.

"As much as she was not feeling well, we did not expect that she would be hospitalised. All she consulted the family GP for was to get a six-monthly repeat script in order for her to get her chronic medication from the pharmacy.

"It was on Tuesday of her last week for exams, with English to be written on Wednesday afternoon and Afrikaans on Friday morning. I was terrified."

Thami then called the school which allocated an invigilator to supervise Naomi's exams at the hospital.

The doting father added that his daughter's tenacious character and determination inspired him.  

"Naomi would still be hard at work sometimes at 02:00 to 03:00 in early hours of the morning.

"Memories of her being in and out of hospital throughout the years and being called many times by her schools (College Hill Preparatory school and later Riebeeck College), brings me emotions and pride for her achievement, despite her health obstacles [and] frequent absence from school, owing to hospitalisation, where she made sure that she asked mom or dad to bring her some books (even a laptop when her mom or I would be sitting throughout the night next to her bed) to read and work while in hospital.

"I used to use her room when she was two years old as my study room for my MBA studies," said De Booi.


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