Lethabong - Despite living in an informal settlement without electricity, Vuyane Mokhaba went on to obtain four distinctions in his matric examination.
"I made use of the best thing I had which was time. We could all not have money, but we all have equal time. I used my time productively and my background motivated me. My mother is unemployed, she braids hair to make a living, my father got a job in November. I grow up with a deep desire to change this situation."
Mokhaba, 19, was the top learner at Iketlestso High School, obtaining a distinction in Accounting by scoring 95 percent, as well as in English, Economics and pure Maths, making him one of the top learners in Lethabong, about 40 kilometres north-east of Rustenburg in the North West.
Mokhaba said he benefitted from a group study, even though it meant he had to brave the night to go to friends' homes to study.
His family moved to Lethabong Gardens, also known as ko Mabitleng (at the cemetery) because it is situated close to a graveyard in 2017. The move meant he could not study at home as the area is not yet electrified.
Mokhaba and a learner from Rethusegile High School, Lesogo Makinita, were honoured for their hard work on Wednesday, to mark the opening of schools in the area.
Makinita, who turned 18 on Wednesday, obtained three distinctions in Accounting, Maths Literacy and Life Orientation.
The two Lethabong top achievers were each presented with a R5 000 cheque by councillor Pako Molatlhegi of ward 28 in the Rustenburg municipality.
"We want to make education fashionable in Lethabong and started by awarding top learners in an attempt to encourage other learners to do better.
"As a councillor, I was previously contacted by learners who were accepted at universities but did not have money for transport. The community decided to use the trust account to assist in education matters, that is why today, we presented two learners with R5 000 each," Molatlhegi said.
Both Mokhaba and Makinita said respecting teachers and doing school work was their best-kept secret.
"If you want to do well at the end of your Grade 12, start well at Grade 8, continue to do so in the next grades until Grade 12," Mokhaba told learners at Iketletso.
While Makinita, who was described as a naughty but disciplined learner by teachers at Ruthusegile, said hard work starts with respecting teachers.
"Do not rely on friends to work for you, because if you just copy their work you will not be able to do well in an examination, always remember that you are on your own in an exam room," he told learners at Rethusegile.
Mokhaba is set to study accountancy science at Wits while Makinita will study social science at the University of Cape Town.
African News Agency (ANA)