North West matric top achievers with Education MEC Sello Lehari with a hat, Community Safety MEC Mpho Motlhabane (right) and Works and Road MEC Johanna Maluleke. Picture: Molaole Montsho/ANA

Wolmaransstad - Two North West learners were awarded the Meritorious Award on Friday, for excelling in their matric academics despite challenges they faced.

North West Education MEC Sello Lehari awarded Tshegofatso Blessing Moruvi and Luday Rashad Dangor van der Merwe for passing their matric against all odds.

Van der Merwe of Meerhof School in Hartbeespoort Dam near Brits became the first recipient of a special award honouring learners from special schools.

He lost both parents, he had a quad bike accident and had brain injuries. In December 2012 he was shot when he tried to help another person during a robbery which resulted him in being quadriplegic. 

He worked hard and passed every year while coping with being quadriplegic and dependent on others. Being quadriplegic and with a shrapnel still in his body caused many health problems.

His health deteriorated during his matric year (2017) and he spend more time in hospital than in school. He did his best to catch up even when he was feeling seek.

In June, doctors ordered that he must lie flat for at least two hours and may sit in his wheelchair for maximum of one hour before lying down again. This made coming to school, writing tests and examinations, doing homework and studying a big challenge.

"During the exam he faced many challenges concerning his health. His grandmother even sometimes had to take him to the doctor for injection or medicine intravenously before the exam started at nine. He was never late and did not miss any paper,"  Lehari said.

"He never complains and always has a smile on his face. Such perseverance and commitment can only be admired."

He passed Grade 12 with four subjects above 50 percent and three subjects above 40 percent. He qualified for admission at higher education institution for diploma studies.

Lehari said the special award, the first for its kind, recognised the performance of learners from special schools, because candidates from special school perform against odds.

Meerhof obatined a pass rate of 94.12 percent. Seventeen candidate wrote the exam and 16 passed.

Tshegofatso Blessing Moruvi of Bapong near Brits, a learner at Johane Mokolobetsi Secondary school, obtained a degree pass with 85.1 percent.

She is the first child in the family, her single mother worked as a tea girl. She walked a 3km distance daily to school and lived in a shack for most of her life.

"Despite these conditions this candidate has worked hard and now emerges as one of the top learners in the quintile 1 [poorest] schools. Managing to rise above a dire situation she found herself in," Lehari said.

Johane Mokolobestsi Secondary School obtained 96.69 percent pass rate. 121 candidates wrote the exam and 117 passed. 

African News Agency/ANA