Cape Town - Determined to change people’s perception about Manenberg and transform the community’s socio-economic status, pupils from The Leadership College obtained a 92 percent matric pass rate.
The school, centred in the heart of the gang- and drug-affected community, is solely dependent on a government subsidy and donations to ensure pupils get free tuition and resources.
Top achiever, Dhilshaad Adonis,18, who obtained seven distinctions and was short of only 2 percent in getting eight distinctions, said her motivation throughout the year was trying to get her mother out of the taxi business.
“I live with my great-grandmother, my aunt, cousin and siblings. My mother is a taxi driver and my father is not active in my life,” she said.
“These results have only inspired me to continue at the pace that I have been working at. It was not easy, studying while neighbours were blasting music, my mother being busy making money seven days a week in a dangerous industry and dodging bullets while heading to school. But I did it.”
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The teenager has been accepted at at least three Western Cape universities. She said despite receiving news that her dream bursary would not be covering her tuition, there were other bursaries available to her and that she had decided to study BCom Accounting at Stellenbosch University.
“This will give people a different outlook and will help bring positivity in Manenberg. I am just happy that I at least made my mother proud,” said Adonis.
Another pupil, Granville van der Berg, 17, who passed with a Bachelor’s pass, said he owed his success to the teachers and principal.
Granville and his sister raised themselves since they were in their early teens. His mother died three years ago.
"I remember there were days when I overslept and my teachers would come and wake me up at home to go and write my exams,” he said.
“It’s hard when you don’t have a parent supporting you, but my teachers have been there for me all the way. This certificate is just a start to my success.”