PICS: Department celebrates Class of 2020 achievers
Share this article:
BY: NONHLANHLA HLATSHWAYO
YOUNG people who rose above the challenges in their lives and received good matric results, were honoured at an event hosted by the Department of Social Development (DSD) yesterday.
The department celebrated top achievers who were in temporary safe care, child youth care centres, foster care and receiving child support grants.
Speaking during the event at Sibaya Casino in Durban, Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza said the department was proud of the pupils who had performed well in matric.
“We have children who were raised by foster parents, those who were once in conflict with the law, those who suffered from substance abuse, those who were abandoned by their parents, and those who lost their parents to HIV/Aids and were left to be raised by their grandparents.
“We have seen these children rise above their challenges with the assistance of social grants and the support systems put in place,” said Khoza.
Social cluster chairperson and Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi said they were in support of the work that has been done by the DSD. “We are also here to encourage the children and let them know that they are not their circumstances and they get to choose the kind of life and future they want for themselves,” she said.
One of the top achievers is Siseko Dlamini, who was transferred to a school for special needs after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a permanent neurological condition.
Dlamini said he was transferred to a special school after his diagnosis in primary school.
“Being transferred to a special school contributed to my performance because I was among other kids who were like me. I was afraid of being bullied in a normal school,” said Dlamini.
He said he had been accepted to study a Bachelor of Social Science degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Phumelele Shangase, who had a tough childhood due to her mother being ill, also overcame the odds to succeed.
She said what inspired her to do well and study psychology was her desperate need to help her mother.
“From a young age I always knew that my mother had a mental illness, but I was too young to understand the science behind her sickness. With studying psychology, I know I will understand better and be able to help other people as well.”
Shangase has been accepted to study a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree at the University of the Free State.
Stevie Ann Sarkozi said she had always aspired to study animal science, and that was why she had always persevered and focused on her studies.
Sarkozi, who is a triplet, had a difficult upbringing, according to the DSD, but said she was focused on her future.
“I would not like to get into much detail about my past because my future seems brighter now. I managed to get five distinctions, even though I was a bit sceptical in the beginning of the year because of schools closing due to the pandemic,” she said.
Sarkozi said she has registered to rewrite maths in June this year as she is short of 2% in the subject to have enough points to be admitted to study a BSc in Animal Science at the University of the Witwatersrand.
The top achievers were awarded certificates of recognition, trophies, laptop computers and R5 000 vouchers to use to buy necessities for their tertiary education.
“About 2 382 children in alternative care enrolled for the matric exam in 2020 and 1 368 of them passed with flying colours. The majority of them are in different tertiary institutions across the country. The department has committed itself to continue tracking these children and monitoring their performances even at universities,” stated the department.