Caption: TOP student at the historic Inanda Seminary outside Durban, Lebohang Sehlabo celebrates her six distinctions achieved despited have an emergency appendix operation ahead of her May exams and then having to have a kidney removed three weeks before her trials in September. Here she celebrates with her aunt, Francina Sehlabo, a theatre nurse in London, who travelled to South Africa especially for the announcement today. Picture: Colleen Dardagan


Durban - Three weeks before her exams Inanda Seminary dux pupil Lebohang Sehlabo told her principal, Judy Tate, that she was thankful to God for giving her two kidneys.

At the time, the willowy youngster was on her way to hospital to have a kidney removed after doctors had spotted cancer during an operation to remove a ruptured appendix earlier.

Undeterred, however, the Matatiele-born Lebohang scored seven distinctions, coming top of her class, and was named dux at the annual speech day.

“Just before her exams in May, Lebohang was rushed to hospital with a ruptured appendix. Doctors saw what they thought was an infection on one of her kidneys. They told her to come back once she had recovered from the appendectomy. It was only after she returned from her September holidays that her parents agreed she should go in for the check-up. The doctors found cancer on one of her kidneys. She went straight into theatre,” said Tate.

“We nursed her here at school, around the clock. The first time she got out of bed was to attend our prizegiving ceremony two weeks later, when she was announced dux. The following week she started writing her finals.”

Yesterday, when interviewed by The Mercury, Lebohang just beamed before introducing her aunt who had travelled from London to be by her side when the results were announced on Monday night.

Francina Sehlabo, who has nursed in a hospital just outside London for 12 years, described her niece as a “miracle” child.

“I have been planning this trip since 2011.

“I was told then that I must be ready to come because she was going to do something special,” she said.

Lebohang will be heading to UCT, where she has been accepted to study medicine.

The Mercury