Manuel Naidoo, 40, with KZN MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu. Picture: BONGANI MBATHA
Manuel Naidoo, 40, with KZN MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu. Picture: BONGANI MBATHA

Phoenix man, 40, completes matric 25 years after dropping out

By Taschica Pillay Time of article published Jan 12, 2020

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Durban - Twenty-five years after dropping out of school, a Phoenix man returned to class and was commended this week as he matriculated.

Manuel Naidoo, 40, wrote the Adult Basic Education and scored 100% in Afrikaans.

He was awarded a certificate and laptop at a function hosted by the provincial Department of Education at the Durban ICC where the top matriculants in the province were honoured on Wednesday.

Naidoo, who had attended Rydal Park Secondary School, dropped out at the start of Grade 11.

“I used to truant from school and engage in bad habits like consuming alcohol. As a teenager I was stubborn and didn’t listen to anyone. I got into fights and got arrested a couple of times.

“I regret not completing. I wasted so many years of my life. I was never able to get a good job. The longest job I had was as a machine operator at a printing company where I worked for seven years. The rest were all casual jobs,” he said.

Naidoo, who is currently unemployed, said he was encouraged by his sister, Christine Naidoo, to enrol for his matric.

“I always did well in school. Had it not been for my bad habits I would have finished school then and maybe had a better life.”

He attended classes from Monday to Thursday from 3 to 6pm at Esselen Heights Primary School.

He wrote English, Afrikaans, Maths, Geography, Religion Studies and Business Studies.

“I studied hard and knew I would get good results but was very surprised as I didn’t expect 100%.”

He said neither did his family or he think he would ever consider going back to school.

“I realised it was never too late and to never lose hope. Always believe in yourself. Don’t let people belittle you. When I was younger some people, even teachers, said I will not make it in life.

“Push yourself to give your best. Even if you fall on your face, like I did, pick yourself up,” said Naidoo.

He also encouraged those who did not achieve good results to not lose hope, adding that it was not the end and they could always go back.

Sunday Tribune

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