WATCH: Delft mom writing exams inspires hope among matric pupils
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Cape Town – “Don’t be afraid, be courageous.”
This was the message from Delft single mother Tania Februarie, 35, to matriculants at Belhar Secondary school yesterday, who together with more than 95 400 candidates in the province, prepare to take on their final exams today.
Well-wishes have poured in for matrics who sit for their first exam, starting with English paper one today, and Afrikaans, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Telegu, Urdu, German and Hebrew tomorrow.
Februarie, who will also be writing her matric exams in honour of her late son Jaden, who died suddenly earlier this year, attended the valedictory service where she handed over the inaugural Jaden Februarie History floating trophy. History was Jaden’s favourite subject.
A roaring crowd cheered Februarie on as she handed the trophy over to the school. Matriculant Kauther Isaacs received the award.
“On behalf of Jaden and myself, we are very honoured. I know Jaden would have been extremely proud that Kauther was the recipient because she is also a top achiever at the school and had received a number of other top achiever awards. I am honoured to have witnessed this moment.
“My message to Jaden’s peers as they gear up for exams is that they should give it their all. If you don’t succeed, just dust yourself off and try again.
’’I am an example of this that after 17 years I am able to write my matric exams,” said Februarie.
Jaden died in February after contracting a respiratory infection.
The mom and son would have been writing their national senior certificate alongside each other as Februarie enrolled with the motive of inspiring her son to complete his matric year.
Despite having made it through a challenging year, Februarie said she would not give up and would persevere.
“Jaden was my pillar of strength. With him I was stronger but now only prayer and God is pulling me through. I am doing this for both of us and my daughter,” said Februarie.
Teacher Carol Cyster said Jaden was an excellent pupil and the school wanted this to honour his legacy.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, meanwhile, said this year has been unusual and unsettling, but she had confidence in pupils’ resilience and ability to succeed.
“You have had a lot of help and worked hard, and we are rooting for you. Good luck.
“I also appeal to all the residents of our province to avoid disrupting the exams in any fashion. Each year we face challenges due to community unrest or transport disputes, and this creates unnecessary anxiety for our learners and sometimes prevents them from writing an exam entirely.
“With such a large group of learners writing, it is vital that no unnecessary disruptions occur. Our matrics are already going to have to cope with some unusual safety measures because of Covid-19, and will understandably be nervous as a result. We cannot afford to cause them any additional anxiety.”
UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng spoke at Heideveld Secondary School’s valedictory service, and said courage is what would help pupils overcome the challenges ahead.
“This year took a lot of courage for you to get here and as you step out into the next phase of your life, I want you to know that you are going to continue to need a lot of courage.
’’If everything comes to you with no effort or struggle on your part, then you will never get to know how strong you are,” she said.
The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union thanked teachers for going the extra mile during the pandemic. They said many used their personal time to help pupils prepare.
“They have done this spending their last cents to buy data, despite the fact that they have not received their salary increments which were due to them as far as April.
“We urge the department to do all to ensure that the examination centres comply with all the required safety regulations and for both the learners and teachers to observe the safety regulations by keeping social distancing, sanitising and wearing masks.”