WESTVILLE prison top achievers Picture: DOCTOR NGCOBO

Durban - He is one of the Class of 2012 who passed matric yesterday, but unlike his born-free peers, S’bonelo Dzanibe is anything but.

Dzanibe completed his secondary education as an inmate at Westville prison’s Usethubeni Youth School.

So-called born-frees are children born in 1994, the year in which the country made the transition from apartheid to democracy.

Dzanibe, 18, is currently serving a 10-year sentence for a crime he declined to disclose to the media at the prison on Thursday.

He achieved a Bachelor pass and was the school’s sixth best matriculant.

“I am very excited at being able to matriculate at the same time as many of my age mates. When I was sentenced in 2008, I was already in my Grade 8, so when I was inside I opted to continue with my studying.

“I always dreamt of going to university since my childhood; I didn’t want my criminal background to destroy that dream,” he said.

Dzanibe said he would like to study for a Bachelor of Mathematics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He scored 66 percent for mathematics, 68 percent for economics and 73 percent for business studies.

The matriculant said the support of his teachers and family had helped him through the exams.

Another inmate, Chris Mazibuko, 25, of Umlazi, was the star of the class, earning five distinctions: IsiZulu first language, English first additional language, business studies, economics and life orientation.

Mazibuko, who is serving a sentence for robbery, said he was motivated by inmates to further his studies in prison.

At the time he was sentenced, he had only completed Grade 9. He began his Grade 10 studies behind bars in 2010.

“My biggest motivation is that I wanted to better myself, I have dreams of getting into business, but I can’t achieve them without being educated.

“I know I committed a criminal offence, but that was due to peer pressure and now I am rectifying my mistakes by bettering myself,” he said.

Mazibuko has already been accepted to study for a Bachelor of Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He said group studies and using past matric question papers had helped him to earn the five As.

Mazibuko appealed to the public to help finance his university studies since his parents could not afford the fees.

School principal Dominic Zulu said he was pleased with this year’s 81 percent pass rate, but would like to do still better.

“We are very proud, though, with the quality of results that the matriculants of this year achieved. Fourteen of the 27 that wrote matric managed to get a Bachelor pass, which will enable them to be admitted at any university in the country.

“Already five of the students have been accepted at different universities,” said Zulu.

He called upon the public to assist the school by volunteering their expertise in critical subjects such as mathematics, physical science and accounting.- Daily News