Matric results: Top Eastern Cape pupil gets 7 distinctions, off to study actuarial sciences

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Hudnson Park High School matriculant Laai'qah Bedford is the top leaner in the Eastern Cape from the class of 2021.
Hudnson Park High School matriculant Laai'qah Bedford is the top leaner in the Eastern Cape from the class of 2021.
Malibongwe Dayimani
  • An 18-year-old Hudson Park High School pupil, Laai'qah Bedford, has become the top matric pupil in public schools in the Eastern Cape.
  • She achieved seven distinctions in the matric examinations of 2021. 
  • The Eastern Cape attained an impressive 73% pass rate, an improvement of 4.9% from 2020.

Surrounding yourself with ambitious and focused peers is a must if you want to achieve excellent results in matric, top Eastern Cape pupil Laai'qah Bedford has advised.

Laai'qah obtained seven distinctions. 

The Hudson Park High School pupil, who is the daughter of single mother Lee-Ann Bedford, 48, has become the overall top achiever after acing all her subjects. 

She received Level 7 for Afrikaans first additional language, English home language, Mathematics, Accounting, Physical Sciences, Business Studies and Life Orientation. 

On Friday, Laai'qah, 18, was honoured by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane alongside other top achievers at a red-carpet event at the Mandla Makupula Education Institute in East London. 

READ | Matric 2021: 'You are the epitome of success', Motshekga tells top achievers at public schools

She is preparing to move to Stellenbosch where she will study actuarial sciences at Stellenbosch University. 

matric 2021
Eastern Cape has achieved 73% matric pass rate. Pictured are the top achievers.

Her love for numbers runs in the family and she said her mother, who works as the chief financial officer for a local quantity surveying firm, was her inspiration.  

Her mother raised her and her younger brother, Junaid, as a single parent.  

Speaking after the ceremony, Lee-Ann said:

There is no way to describe this feeling. Single mothers go through a lot. Sometimes you struggle to just keep the lights on, you are the only person there in good times and in bad. We have gone through good and bad patches, but she has persevered. She has pulled in the work.

She added her daughter had made her the happiest woman in the world. 

Her advice for parents is to not dictate the life of their children but simply guide and make sure they do not make bad choices. 

"I am lucky because she is a strong independent person so I did not have to do much," Lee-Ann added.

READ | Find your Matric results on News24

 Life has not been smooth sailing for Laai'qah who had to leave her hometown of Gqeberha and relocate to East London with her mother and brother in Grade 8, leaving all her friends to start all over at a new school. 

An "overwhelmed and overjoyed" Laai'qah said her recipe for success was simply believing in one's self and finding a balance.

Asked if she had any advice for the Class of 2022, she added:

Surrounding yourself with ambitious, focused peers is a must. As motivated and driven as you may be, we all need inspiration from time to time and what a better place to get it from someone who understands what you are experiencing.

Laai'qah said pupils should always remember to take a break from their studies. 

READ | Matric Results: 'We are proud of our kids' - mother of one of the top achievers from Stellenbosch

"You can't study 24/7, you can't work 24/7, find rest days and enjoy your year and remember to have fun." 

The Eastern Cape has achieved a 73% pass rate, up 4.9 percentage points from 2020. It is ranked seventh out of nine provinces. 

The top achievers received trophies, laptops and tablets. 

The Top 5 performing districts that were the driving force behind the province's improved pass rate in 2021 are:

• Buffalo City at 79% with an improvement of 5.4% from 73.6% in 2020.

• Nelson Mandela Bay at 78.2%, an improvement of 2.7% from 75.5% in 2020.

• Amathole West at 74.6%, an improvement from 63.2% in 2020 with the highest improvement of 11.4%.

• Amathole East at 74.4, an improvement of 7.1% from 67.3% in 2020.

• Alfred Nzo West at 73.7%, an improvement of 6.2% from 67.5% in 2020.

Amathole West became the most improved district with an 11.4% improvement, followed by Joe Gqabi at 7.7%, and Chris Hani East with 7.6%.

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