#MatricResults2016: Blindness not a barrier for pair of bright sparks
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Johannesburg – It's been a difficult school journey for disabled students Ephodia Mudau and Hlulani Malungani from the Rivoni School for the Blind in Limpopo.
These two students are among the top achievers in special education and were honoured on Wednesday at a breakfast with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga at Vodaworld in Midrand.
Ephodia is partially blind, while Hlulani started going blind in 2008 and by 2014 was totally blind.
Born in Phiphidi, a rural Limpopo village, Ephodia described life as hard. “My father died in 2009, he got sick and my mom didn’t have a job so we were very poor.
“School and studying was not always easy because my eyes get sore. Sometimes if they were too painful someone had to read for me,” Ephodia said.
In August, prior to starting final exams, tragedy struck the Mudau family once more. “My brother was killed in an accident. He was a taxi driver in Joburg.
After he died, my mom and my teacher encouraged me to keep going and now I am here,” she said.
In the future, Ephodia hopes to buy her mom a comfortable house in appreciation for everything she has done for her.
Her favourite subject was business studies and she plans to study Media at the University of Limpopo.
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Bullied throughout his school days, Hlulani, who is from a rural village in Giyani, Limpopo, said he realised something was wrong in 2008 when his eyesight started fading.
“I was in a normal school for primary and part of high school. It was really hard growing up because the other kids would make fun of me and laugh at me,” he recalled.
He moved to Rivoni in 2012 and after having an operation on his eyes at the end of 2013, things worsened. “I bumped into a wall at the beginning of 2014 by accident and that’s when I went blind.
“I started learning braille and within two weeks I was able to read it,” he said.
Hlulani is an avid music lover who sings well and hopes to take it further. He enjoys reading and writing stories and poems.
This smart young man will be studying psychology at the University of Venda.
Being honoured at the breakfast with the minister was exciting for both students.
“I feel great and I’m so thankful to my teachers and my mom for everything,” Ephodia said.
For Hlulani, his being honoured at the breakfast is his best way to repay those who mocked him. “Today they will watch me on TV. I’m very proud and grateful for my family and teachers,” he said.
“To learners who are still studying, work hard and do the things that will help you to excel; don’t spend your time uselessly,” Hlulani added.