Menzi High School in Umlazi, Durban, is particularly known for its 100 % NSC matric pass rate and was on the list of top 20 schools in KwaZulu-Natal that did exceptionally well in 2020. Picture: Pexels.
Menzi High School in Umlazi, Durban, is particularly known for its 100 % NSC matric pass rate and was on the list of top 20 schools in KwaZulu-Natal that did exceptionally well in 2020. Picture: Pexels.

Former matric top achiever advises the class of 2021 to not give up

By Gugulethu Shinga Time of article published Dec 27, 2021

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FORMER Menzi High School pupil Thembelani Ngubane, 19, who comes from eNgonyameni in Durban, passed his matric with flying colours and was recognised as a top achiever in 2020.

Menzi High School in Umlazi, Durban, is particularly known for its 100% NSC matric pass rate and was on the list of top 20 schools in KwaZulu-Natal that did exceptionally well in 2020.

Ngubane took the number one position last year when he passed his matric with seven distinctions, obtaining a 100 percent pass in maths. However, it was not all smooth sailing as the high-flyer faced challenges during his matric year.

“Matric during the pandemic proved to be challenging because we spent about six months without going to school,” says Ngubane. Studying at home was especially demanding since he has a big family and there was not enough space to study due to the size of his home.

He spent a great deal of his time doing chores and going out to fetch water as there is no running water in his hometown.

“I had to become creative with how I managed my time because of this and although we could study during the pandemic and school closures, it was difficult without the physical presence of teachers. Our teachers were active in providing support. They would send us pdf documents of lessons and questions to answer, so that we stayed motivated during these ‘forced holidays’ as we called them.”

The determined Ngubane is currently doing his first year of Mechatronics Engineering at the UCT.

“My studies have been largely affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic and I haven’t been getting satisfactory results. I had to adapt to online learning which is challenging, but I am managing and have confidence in myself.”

He advises the matric class of 2021 to believe in themselves and to not give up if they feel intimidated.

“Believe in yourself, continue to work hard and be disciplined. Tertiary education can be a bit intimidating. Those first few assignments and tests can be difficult. You can be an A-aggregate pupil at high school but may struggle a bit at tertiary level because things are not the same.”

He adds that this year’s matriculants should hit the ground running once they start their first year of tertiary studies, as it is not a “soft life”.

Muntu Ntombela, a proud principal of Menzi High school said time management was very important at her school. When the year begins, her students start studying and they don’t waste time.

“We start teaching at 6:30am. We also have a study group from 4pm to 6pm for our learners. We use this time to assist those struggling academically by giving them individual attention,” says Ntombela.

Ntombela adds that she has dedicated teachers who always go the extra mile. “We do check on our students once they have left school, and with Thembelani Ngubane I can confirm that he is currently studying at UCT and is doing really well there.”

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