Pretoria - Three city matriculants made it to the top 20 of best performers in the country.
Thabang Manamela, a blind candidate from Prinshof High School, said: “I am so happy. This just shows that hard work pays off. I could not wait to finish high school so I can go on to the new streets of life.”
At a breakfast in Sandton on Monday, Thabang sang for the audience. He studied music in matric but wants to study criminal law at the University of Pretoria.
“I love music and will still pursue it, but not in a major way.
“I am not worried about going into an environment with people who are not disabled.
“I only socialise with blind people at school. Outside school I am with other people.”
He said he wanted to study at the Tuks but his mother, Grace, worried it was too far.
“She’s worried that I’m her last born and she’ll miss me too much,” he said laughing.
Thabang was the third best performing candidate from special schools.
“I am relieved now that I know what my results are.”
Grace said she was proud of her son. “I’m so happy. It’s like I’m floating but I’m also nervous. I can’t sleep at night wondering what will happen.”
Her sentiments were shared by another parent, Delinah Mthombeni whose son, Siphesihle Sithole, from Makhosini Combined School in Soshanguve, is also one of the best performers.
She said: “I expected a lot from him but not this kind of thing. He’s always been a great performer.”
Siphesihle was the third best pupil from disadvantaged schools across the country.
He plans to study chemical engineering at the University of Pretoria. “The secret to doing well is setting targets and reaching them.
“My school was also very supportive. There were afternoon classes and holiday classes. They gave us all the skills we needed to do well.”
The only girl among the top performers was Wini-Louise Myburgh from Afrikaans Hoër Meisieskool.
She said: “I am completely stunned. I worked hard but didn’t think I’d be invited to meet the minister.”
Wini-Louise was the best performing maths student in the country. “I expected to be the best in Tshwane, but not the country,” said an excited Wini-Louise.
She is going to study accounting at the University of Pretoria.
The best performing candidates were given Post Office accounts in which R2 000 had been deposited.