Matrics ready to change the future
Durban - Firday saw IEB matriculants celebrating at schools as they gathered to share their results, with many of the top pupils saying they saw a bright future for South Africa and wanted to give back to the country.
Thabiso Dlamini, 2020 deputy head boy of Hilton College who achieved seven distinctions, said from his home in Hammarsdale on Friday: "I was fortunate that so many gave so much to me.
"Not many kids get the opportunity to go to Hilton and I just wanted to take that opportunity with both hands and be an example to other children to show them they can succeed, no matter where they came from," he said, adding that his background had given him an inner desire to succeed.
Having attended Hillcrest Primary School, Dlamini won a rugby and cricket sports scholarship. He plans to study civil engineering and is waiting for news about the bursaries he has applied for. Commenting on his seven As, he said: “The hard work that sport demands of you filters to academic work. It helped in the mental aspect."
Also wanting to give back was Durban Girls' College top achiever Samira Salduker who, with seven distinctions, wants to study for a Bachelor of Arts and would like to teach, while The Wykeham Collegiate's Clarice van Niekerk, with eight distinctions, has becoming a UN ambassador in her sights.
Van Niekerk said she would like to address issues such as poverty, LGBTQ and gender-based violence and institutionalised racism, adding: "I would like to spend a year or so overseas, but I will definitely come back to SA. I'm going to university next week and I'm so excited; I'm very ready to start."
Also from Wykeham Collegiate and having achieved eight distinctions, Tahiya Essa said: "South Africa may not be in a good space right now, but the future generation is coming to change things.
"I know a lot of young women who have every intention of going to university and going out there to change things for South Africa. The future has a lot of potential; this generation and the generations coming will bring a bright future,“ said Essa.
Top achievers with seven distinctions at Clifton College, Sahaan Juggernath and Michael Bensch both want to study medicine and specialise. Juggernath's grandfather passed away from heart complications after contracting Covid-19 last year when Juggernath was writing matric trials.
"Both my grandfathers passed away from heart conditions and I know that feeling of being helpless. I want to become a cardiologist so I can help others," he said, while Bensch said studying medicine had been his dream since he was young and what he had been working towards throughout his school career.
Another future doctor, Tristan Naidoo from Michaelhouse, who scored eight As, said he found a balance between academics, sport and culture through time management. He won a scholarship to the school when he was at Deccan Road Primary in Pietermaritzburg.
Also heading places is St Henry's Marist College's Mpilonhle Nxasana of Westville who achieved seven distinctions. He plans to study mechatronics, a combination of mechanical and electrical engineering suited to robotics. He was placed in the top 1% of IEB candidates at national level for physical sciences.
Talking about lockdown, he said: "It was difficult having the space you normally relax in become your workspace, but my family, and especially my mom, were very supportive, so I got through it."
The 2020 NSC pass rate for IEB candidates was 98.07%, with 88.42% achieving entry to degree study.
Executive head of Clifton College David Knowles said schools across the country faced challenging times because of the pandemic and lockdown last year and that one of their themes was "emerging stronger".
He said that while Clifton rapidly moved to online learning systems, lessons were learnt around the provision of online education and the need for social connection was highlighted.
"Among our boys and staff, the need for social interaction and connection was an important realisation, it is human nature to seek some connection," said Knowles.
Durban Girls' College executive head Marianne Bailey described 2020 as an historic year as the school "faced challenges beyond our wildest expectations“. ”The matric class of 2020 had dreams for their final year at school and many were not realised. What they did prove was that resilience and determination to succeed bears fruit, and their results testify to this", Bailey said, adding that she told the matriculants: "Look forward and focus on everything that is good."
The Independent on Saturday