Cape Town - The Western Cape’s top matriculant is a farm girl from apple, wine and whale country, but with her nine distinctions Nita Wiegman has blitzed her 44 700 fellow Grade 12s.
Nita lives on her family’s farm in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, near Hermanus, and attended Hermanus High School in the whale-watching town.
The Wiegman family had received a call “out of the blue” in which she was asked to stand by to be flown up to Gauteng for a function last night, where she was personally congratulated by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.
“I’m blown away – this took me completely by surprise,” she told the Cape Argus today from OR Tambo International Airport, before boarding a plane back to Cape Town.
She said she had written nine subjects – English home language, Afrikaans first additional language, maths, maths third paper, accounting, life sciences, physical sciences, life orientation and advanced programme maths.
“I haven’t been given my marks yet, but was just told which subjects I received distinctions for,” she explained.
And how many was that?
“All nine,” she said shyly.
Just what did it take to pull off such a feat?
“Yes, I worked hard. I was also involved in a lot of sport and cultural activities – such as tap dancing,” Wiegman said.
“It’s all about balance.”
“So I did my little bit of studying every day – probably two to three hours a night.
“And then at weekends I spent most of my time catching up on the work I might have missed during the week.”
She also played hockey and tennis and took part in athletics.
Her elder brother, Adrian, or “AD”, as he is known, who also received distinctions for all his subjects in 2011, is now studying engineering.
Following him into university, she will study medicine at Stellenbosch University, in residence at the Tygerberg campus.
Her father, Ian, said of his high-achieving daughter: “Yes, I suppose she is a farm girl, but she’s led a very balanced life!”
His wife, Miralese, teaches at the school and the couple were exceptionally proud, he said.
The young star returns to work at her holiday job at Creation Wines in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, where she has worked for the past few weeks, but takes a “well-deserved break” from Monday, until her next long journey towards becoming a doctor begins.