- Sixteen matriculants in Cape Town get daily meals before their exams.
- Wilhelmina Heynes started the initiative five years ago.
- Pupils leave with a full stomach and loads of encouragement.
Wilhelmina Heynes rolls out the red carpet for matriculants in Cape Town every morning during the school week.
"This is a space where they can come and chill, offload while being served a tasty breakfast. The matrics leave feeling much better," Heynes told News24 with a smile.
Heynes, who's affectionally called Mamma Delft, runs a breakfast kitchen in Delft. Every morning, matric pupils are guaranteed a warm breakfast before school starts.
"The youth face a lot of challenges, especially the matriculants.
"In the mornings, not all of them have something to eat, and they have to struggle on their own," she said.
She started the matric breakfast programme five years ago to create a safe space for Grade 12s ahead of the year-end exams.
The initiative relies solely on donations.
Breakfast is served
Matriculants from Rosendal High, Perseverance High and Symphony High get treated to various cereals, fruit salads, meats and a hearty serving of motivation to keep them going.
Carol Philander, who's been assisting with the breakfast programme since 2019, said she dishes out speeches to encourage pupils to keep going.
"We come out of different homes, and every day is different. If you don't receive support, your situation could get the better of you," Philander said.
Rodene Kamfer, 18, from Perseverance High School said the breakfast programme helped her to stay focussed.
"I always speak to Aunty Mina if I have an issue. The ladies at breakfast make you feel supported and proud of yourself," she said.
Kamfer has her sights set on being a police officer, while Julene Allies wants to get into the medical field.
"I want to become a doctor and treat people that can't afford healthcare in my community," Allies said.
The future doctor is confident she will pass her exams with flying colours, thanks to her support system.
Councillor Michelle Adonis has been working hand in hand with Aunty Mina to assist the pupils with toiletries and get their driver's licences.
"It is essential for me to assist people like Mamma Delft because she gives the youth confidence through her initiative. Even if it's a can of deodorant or a sanitary towel, it goes a long way," Adonis said.
Mama Delft said she hoped to take the programme to new levels by getting Wi-Fi for the pupils to complete bursary applications and access study material at no cost.