Mom Shamiela de Roos, Saabiera with her certificates and Moulana Sameeg Norodien. Picture: Monique Duval

Cape Town - A young Manenberg girl is one step closer to fulfilling her dream of becoming a doctor after being awarded seven certificates and named the top Grade 12 learner at Manenberg High School. 

Despite growing up amid gang fights and drug deals, Saabiera Swarts, 17, says her determination has seen her come out tops and she is now appealing for help to further her education. 

Saabiera, who is the youngest of 10 children, says being raised in Lettie Court is not easy but despite being surrounded by crime, her widowed mom, Shamiela de Roos, 59, helped keep her grounded. 

She is the first of her siblings to matriculate, says her proud mother, who lost her husband Mogamad Deen to illness. “He was very sick and died when Saabiera was nine,” Shamiela says. 

“I went to work in a factory in Lansdowne to support the family and all her brothers and sisters left school early to help support the family because of the financial situation. She is the first one who is going to finish school and we are very proud of her.” 

Saabiera says during the school’s awards ceremony held in November, she got a fright when she was called seven times to the stage. She obtained the highest marks for maths literacy, Afrikaans, life sciences, English, business studies, geography and was named the top pupil at the school. 

Manenberg High School is located in one of Cape Town's toughest neighbourhoods. Picture: Monique Duval


Saabiera has just completed her final exams and, while she is positive of a good outcome, her plans to become a doctor are hamstrung due to a lack of available subjects at her school relevant to pursuing a medical degree. 

“When we were in Grade 11 they stopped the pure maths class because too few pupils were taking it and we never even had chemistry,” she explains. “When I went to universities earlier this year for applications, they told me that to study forensic sciences or medicine, I need to have those two subjects. 

“I applied for psychology and was accepted, but it is really not what I want to do. I love science and want to become a doctor and then a neurologist.”

Shamiela says while the family still struggles financially, they will enrol Saabiera into a college next year so she can complete maths and chemistry, and then enrol her into medical school. 

“We still don’t have money for the studies for next year, but I am determined to pass those two subjects so I can go to medical school. I want to pursue my passion. I just need some help,” says a determined Saabiera. 

Daily Voice