'We made it': 2 blind matric pupils among Limpopo's top achievers

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Vhuhulu Mavhunda, Principal Connie Mabaso and Wisani Mbandzani.
Vhuhulu Mavhunda, Principal Connie Mabaso and Wisani Mbandzani.
Russel Molefe, News24
  • Two matric pupils from the Rivoni School for the Blind in Limpopo were among the top three candidates in the Public Special School Category.
  • One of them wants to be a teacher and the other a lawyer.
  • The principal says their academic year only started in May due to infrastructure challenges but construction is now finally going ahead.

For Vhuhulu Mavhunda, being born visually impaired in a rural poor household was not a shame, but a motivation to work harder towards achieving great things in life.

Mavhunda, 20, said he proved this when he and fellow pupil Wisani Mbendzani, who is also visually impaired, were listed among the top achievers in the 2021 matric results in Limpopo on Friday.

Mavhunda and Mbendzani from Rivoni School for the Blind in Elim, Louis Trichardt, came second and third, respectively, in the Top 3 Candidates in Public Special School category.

The school has consistently produced a 100% matric pass rate almost every year in the last decade with limited resources and poor infrastructure. 

In 2021, it obtained a 77.8% pass rate because of certain challenges.

In an interview with News24 after the awards, Mavhunda said the principal, teachers, family and friends helped push him to work hard at school.

"They were telling us not to give up. Yes, we made it, and I thank God for believing in myself.

"I'm going to the University of Johannesburg where I applied in the faculty of education. I want to be a teacher and help others like me. I'll be specialising in Mathematics," he added.

Mavhunda, who has a twin brother,  grew up in a family of seven with a single and unemployed parent.

He was the only one born with a disability.

READ | Matric 2020: Rivoni School for the Blind in Limpopo excels again

"It was hard growing up at home. My mom was unemployed. But the situation at home also inspired me to work hard so that I can change things for the better - I can move my mom from the rural area to a town suburb," Mavhunda said.

Mbendzani wants to obtain a law degree.

"I was motivated by my brother to study as he is now almost completing his law degree." 

Principal Connie Mabaso attributed the success of the school to teamwork, commitment and passion by teachers and support staff.

"I always refer to the school as Team Rivoni. That's why we manage against all odds to succeed in our work.

"It's unfortunate we didn't get the 100% that we usually get. It was difficult for us in 2021 because we only started the academic year in May due to infrastructure challenges," Mabaso said.

However, she added she was delighted a contractor, who was brought in, had started construction on buildings deemed to be state of the art.

Of the nine candidates who sat for the exams, five obtained a Bachelors pass, two diploma passes, while two failed. The school was named best performing in the Public Special School category.


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