The achievements of the trio have now inspired other inmates to aspire towards fulfilling their own academic ambitions.
Esithubeni achieved a 100% pass rate, as all of their 28 pupils passed the exams.
Senzo Nyawose, Samkelo Mphofana and Kwandokuhle Ngcobo were the high flyers and are all due for release in September. Mphofana, 21, who landed five As and the top performing inmate, plans to study meteorology, while Nyawose, 21, has chosen criminology.
Mathematics and statistics is the academic field that Ngcobo, 22, wants to venture into. He said: “Being in prison groomed me into becoming a better person and learner. Once I complete my degree, I’m hoping to find employment with the South African Weather Services.”
He said he was not proud of his criminal record, relating to a stabbing incident and the use of drugs. He said he had since apologised to his victim.
Mpofana’s father, Thokozani Sikwatana of Umlazi, said he wanted to “thank the people at Westville Prison for shaping my son into the person he has become, and hopefully it will inspire other inmates”.
Esithubeni principal Nelly Mkhize said the pupils were dedicated to learning and started their own study group.
Mphofana, Nyawose and Ngcobo, were instrumental in the school achieving its 100% pass rate, as they helped other pupils at the study group.
Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane said bursaries would be made available to the top achieving inmates, but he warned that they would be withdrawn if they failed to behave, once they had been released from prison.