Informal settlement family celebrates star matriculant Ayabukwa Nombela

By Okuhle Hlati, Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Feb 24, 2021

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Cape Town – Living in Enkanini informal settlement in Khayelitsha, without the best studying material or a conducive environment, did not stop a determined Ayabukwa Nombela from being among the country's top matriculants.

The Manzomthombo Secondary School learner came in 2nd place in Quintile 3 (no-fee schools) nationally. She achieved an 88% pass mark and distinctions in each of her six subjects.

When her parents saw the results at the school in Mfuleni yesterday, they were speechless, in tears and analysed her marks proudly.

With a pass rate of province's 79.9%, the province accounted for the top two maths pupils, with Daniel Gouws, from Hermanus High School, and Veren Naidoo, from Rondebosch Boys High School, claiming first and second place respectively. They both obtained 100% pass rates in maths.

The 17-year-old Ayabukwa achieved 95% in physical science and 97% in maths.

Her overjoyed father, Thembinkosi Betani, said while their living conditions were not good, he believed that the support of the family played a major role in the success of his child.

“What I know is that most of our presidents come from humble beginnings. Support is very important and also being around your children giving the little you have is important too,” he said.

“I always knew that she would make it, but I did not expect her to do this well. She is a go-getter. She made sure that she had all the study materials. She is very determined in whatever she is doing.

“She is very focused. She did not have many friends because she was focused on her studies,” said Betani.

Her challenges included cellphone network issues and having to study in all weather conditions and in a noisy environment at home.

“I am very happy, but am anxious at the same time. I did not expect to do this (well) because we had to study under Covid-19 conditions where you are worried about your health and your studies at the same time. The closing of schools also negatively affected many of us,” she said. Ayabukwa will be studying medicine at UCT.

Daniel and Veren, meanwhile, said they always knew they were natural-born number crunchers, but did not anticipate being the country's top two maths boffins.

“I didn't know what to expect. I was relatively concerned about some subjects and comfortable about others. Seeing my results now I am happy that not only did I make my parents proud, but myself.

“This all just feels unreal. All of these achievements mean I have paved a way for my younger brother to believe in himself,” said Gouws.

Gouws hopes to further his studies in electrical and electronic engineering at Stellenbosch University.

Naidoo was inspired by his parents' story to work hard. He said he didn't have a “recipe” for success, but consistency and dedication paid off.

“To be honest I was comfortable with my maths exam after writing it and expected a distinction. However being a top student nationally came as a shock.

“My parents, who are my biggest role models, are extremely proud of me.

“They both had to put themselves through to university by getting student loans and other loans. They also had part-time jobs while studying. Even after finishing their studies, they had to work hard to pay off their debts and sacrificed a lot for me and my brother to be where we are today,” said Veren.

His dream is to become a qualified chartered accountant with his own company.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer congratulated all schools that managed to increase their pass rates in the midst of a pandemic.

Cape Times

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