Johannesburg - For the class of 2012, she had words of congratulations and comfort.

But for the class of 2013, education minister Angie Motshekga had only one request: to remember the courage of Remember Mashabela, a 19-year-old Limpopo pupil who wrote his matric exams while in Pretoria East Hospital, where he was being treated for leukaemia.

“He personally wrote to ask for permission to sit for the National Senior Certificate examinations in hospital,” a departmental spokesperson said at the time.

Remember clocked up five passes, in English home language (57 percent), physical science (54 percent), maths (62 percent), life sciences (62 percent) and Afrikaans FAL.

It was enough to earn him a bachelor pass – the golden key to university admission.

“But after his exams, at the height of his educational achievement, he was overcome by illness,” said Motshekga.

He lost his battle against leukaemia in late December.

“It is our wish that his family should draw strength from his courage and we hope such courage will live on in the class of 2013,” she said.

The Star