It is the will that will take you further. Sometimes you just need to move a few steps away from where you are to see how far you can go.
Know that the tree trunk you were tied to as a calf, the one you couldn't break away from, could only hold your young frame – you have grown now, dear elephant, dear ma2000, dear youth.
Uncouth as you are, they thought you were rats, until you sprung up and took flight, you beautiful bats. You have adapted to the darkness. Eskom couldn't hold you. Shaky grounds couldn’t fold you, you untangled your minds and learnt how to remain sturdy even when things fall apart, perhaps driven by a deep fear of failure and a desire to overcome the perceived weaknesses of your parents, dear descendants of Okonkwo.
You have picked yourself up and rose above pit toilets and the not-so-adequate drinking water from rusty taps in your schools. You have weathered the storms and braved the winds through dilapidated structures masquerading as your classrooms. You have learnt under trees. You have learnt from the trees how to grow towards the light, how to grow deep before you grow tall. You have learnt to bend with the breeze, to be patient.
It has always been this ugly. I suppose you have found your beauty in this chaos, and decided to keep it. It shows in your results.
You have archived greater than any matric class since the dawn of democracy and you need to be lauded. Perhaps we have judged you too harshly for your faces being constantly glued to your phones. Continually attached to your skulls, headphones for smiles extending from ear lobe to ear lobe. We used to think you have conformed to the allure of technology and all you do is TikTok challenges, to no avail. A veil of clarity has been undraped. We used to believe that you keep your thumbs steadily on screens scrolling, necks bent like you are obeying and worshipping your devices because slaves are meant to bow.
Now we are eating our words, and they taste like an 82.9% pass rate. We are eating our words; they taste as humble as pie can taste to palates of people who are hesitant to change.
Savouring the taste of humble pie, the flavours blend spices of challenges and triumphs, inviting us to relish the nuanced beauty, humbly acknowledging the lessons in every sweet and spicy bite.
Each spoonful uncovers rich layers of resilience, innovation and cultural fusion.
The confusion lies not in the perceived setbacks or the stumbles on this academic journey but in the untapped reservoirs of your potential waiting to surge forth. To those who faced a temporary defeat in their matriculation, remember that failure is not a verdict but a stepping stone towards growth. Stand resilient, for the melody of success often plays its sweetest notes after the storm has passed. It is the will that will take you further.
By Rabbie Serumula