Mothibi Ramokgopa bagged six distinctions in accounting, maths and physical sciences among others. He plans to study astrophysics.
The matric results have been released and the whiz kids lauded for their outstanding marks.

But what does it take to raise a child who will go on and achieve outstanding results in matric?

For Mboniseni Mathivha, if you want to tap into your child’s potential, you need to start early.

Mathivha’s son Mothibi Ramokgopa, a learner at Mondeor High School, passed matric with six distinctions. He achieved 97% for physical sciences, 90% for life sciences, 92% for accounting, 94% for life orientation, 93% for maths and 80% for English. Mothibi also got 69% for Afrikaans.

He plans to study astrophysics at the University of Cape Town, a field he fell in love with from stargazing as a boy in Limpopo,

Mathivha said a stable environment and extra school work from when Mothibi started school gave him the support he needed to achieve his high marks.

From a young age Mothibi was signed up for extra lessons. “He went through programmes like Kumon from when he started school. Every night we made him go through all the work they did in class that day to make sure he understood it.

“We would stay up until as late as 11pm to ensure he understood everything. In the beginning he didn’t like it, but with time he started to realise that the sooner he did it, the better,” Mathivha said.

“We supported him and gave him a stable environment and when other kids had just homework to do, he had more to do,” Mathivha pointed out.

He said he started seeing a big difference in his son’s achievements in Grade 10.

“Without our help, he started pushing himself and working independently. We were not pushing him anymore, because we saw the change in him.”

Mothibi’s mother, Malehu Ramokgopa, said it was important to ensure your child was well-rounded. Mothibi played cricket, soccer and participated in public speaking. Under the stage name “IntraTheArtist” Mothibi also runs a small business where he produces and sells music beats.

Ramokgopa said: “You need the social part of life as well. That keeps you fit and keeps you interacting with other people. You need to talk to people your own age. You need to communicate and be a team player.”

Her advice to parents is: “You have to start them early with extra lessons. It must be part of the work ethic that you will do extra work.”

She said a child’s willingness to work will lead to their success.

“The persistence and his hard work paid off. He studied non-stop and attended a talent target programme. That instilled discipline,” she added.