Johannesburg - After Sanele Mboto received his matric results at midnight on Wednesday, he immediately picked up the phone and called his mother.
“She was actually really shocked,” said Mboto. “I never call her that late so she probably thought there was something wrong. She asked me, ‘why on earth are you calling me so late?’”
Mboto, a learner at St Andrew’s College told his mother, Ntombizanele, that he had bagged four distinctions in his matric results.
“She started screaming over the phone. She really was over the moon. She jumped up and down and went crazy,” said Sanele.
Mboto has been away from home for the past five years after moving from Kokstad, in KwaZulu-Natal, to pursue his dream of schooling at St Andrew's College in Grahamstown.
The teenager, who comes from an underprivileged background, was given a golden opportunity to study at one of South Africa’s most prestigious schools, thanks to a sponsorship from another learner's parent.
Five years later, and with several achievements to his name, including deputy head boy, Mboto leaves St Andrew’s College as one of its top achievers.
He earned distinctions in accounting, dramatic arts, isiXhosa and mathematics.
“I’m really excited. After all these years of hard work, seeing everything come together is just wonderful.”
He admits he was a “nervous wreck” waiting for his results but expected good results. “Deep inside I knew I would do well. When I walked out of each of my exams, I knew I had given my all and there was nothing else I could have given.
“It was a really tough decision to move away from my family and so the transition wasn’t easy initially.
“However my mother made things so much easier for me. She would call me every single day to make sure I was okay. The pupils and staff went out of their way to make me feel at home and I ended up having a family of my own. The ladies who work in the canteen become like my mothers. I used to call them ‘mama’. I am very grateful.”
Now that he is done making his mark at St Andrew's, Mboto is eager to make an impression at the University of Cape Town, where he will be doing his BCom.
“I’ve been warned I’ve chosen a very difficult field. But I am ready for all the challenges.
"The only person holding me back from achieving everything I want is myself,” he said.