Johannesburg - Bongumenzi Ndlovu, one of the country’s top performing matriculants, has battled an eyesight problem throughout his school days.
“I was born with the problem. It distracted me in my classes. I missed classes and some of the tests in previous years,” the 17-year-old Ndlovu from Zama High School in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, told The Star on Thursday.
“But last year I managed to go to various doctors for treatment so that I could attend revision classes and my final exams,” he said.
He described his condition as an allergy that causes irritation and inflammation of his eyes, making it difficult for him see even the chalkboard.
“I used to have glasses but they got broken in Grade 11. I had no glasses in Grade 12. It was very difficult without them. I had to ask my friends what they were seeing on the board. But I also used my hearing,” he recalled.
School day challenges were now behind Ndlovu, who said he was surprised he was one of best performing matrics in the country.
“I’m surprised because I expected big, but not this big. I think this came because of my hard work. Hard work paid off,” he said.
Ndlovu has been accepted to study medicine at the University of Cape Town. He expected a scholarship from the Basic Education Department and its partners.
“I’ll try by all means to get a solution to my eye problem. I hope I’ll be able to get glasses with funds from my scholarship.”
In a few days Ndlovu will step into a whole new terrain, like many matriculants across the country. He hopes to find a welcoming Cape Town.
“I’m hoping for a quiet, supportive environment where I won’t be surrounded by drug lords and crime.
“I’m hoping for an environment in which I’ll be able to study easily. I wish for peace and quiet throughout the six years of my course,” he said.
“I’m confident I’ll do well in university too despite my eye challenges.”