Limpopo matric pupil goes from sharing study guides to a top performer

Dimpho Phalane. (Wim Pretorius, News24)
Dimpho Phalane. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

Johannesburg - Dimpho Phalane, a matriculant at Mampotjane Secondary School in Limpopo, could barely contain her excitement when she realised she was one of the country's top achievers.

- Matric results will be available here on Wednesday.

"I’m so excited and it’s shocking because I never thought I’d achieve this," the shy girl from Zebediela said.

She said it was a hard year where she and fellow classmates had to "imagine" experiments described in textbooks because their school didn't have a laboratory. There was also a shortage of textbooks and computers.

While teachers spotted her talents early on, it took a long time for Phalane to believe that she was one of the nation's top achievers.

"I always thought they were just encouraging me, but now I believe that I made it."

Phalane said she only expected to get average marks, and hoped that she'd be able to secure a bursary for a tertiary education.

But in the end, she got so much more than she bargained for.

Not only was Phalane one of the top achievers, she also received a bursary from Sasol.

Her success, she said, didn't come easy.

"We didn’t have enough books or computers. We also had to imagine some experiments from what the textbooks stated as we didn’t have a laboratory."

To make up for the lack of books or computers, the pupils of her class combined forces and everyone shared their study guides and helped each other to "get through all of the obstacles".

She said the exams were very stressful as she didn't want to disappoint her teachers and family members.

Phalane said she tried to unwind by watching cartoons.

Because she came from a rural area, there were not many things to do, she said.

"I come from a rural area so where am I going to go [when she goes out]?" she joked.

Phalane hoped to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Pretoria.

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