But with the strong bonds of friendship formed during high school years, both young men have taken some important lessons from facing their individual challenges, with Reddy about to embark on a career in strategic brand communication and Van der Mescht having been snapped-up by the Sharks’ rugby academy.
Reddy, from Mtubatuba, who received a bachelor pass for his matric, said: “I’m the youngest of three boys and, being the closest to home, I had to be there to help with looking after my mom, who’s a strong person in her own right.”
And it was during his high school years that Reddy developed leadership abilities.
“I have learnt a lot. You have to be willing to give up time and you have to have the courage to follow-up with what you say. I also learnt about developing a presence, which is a key factor in leadership. You have to be able to walk into a room and fill the space without saying a word,” said Reddy.
Van der Mescht said it was always his dream to play rugby and he was determined to pass his matric.
“With dyslexia, I have had to work very hard, but I have also had a lot of support from all of my friends, many of them helping me to study,” he said.