Simphiwe Makgetla is one step closer to realising his dream of being the head of South Africa’s first car manufacturing company thanks to his academic plan, which has helped him succeed during his matric year at Forte Secondary High School.
The Class of 2023 matriculant says he realised that in order to succeed, he needed to devise a strategy that would propel him forward, among the most outstanding learners at school.
Simphiwe bagged seven distinctions out of eight in his prelims, something that pushed him to go the extra mile to make sure he did better in his final examinations.
“My matric journey was not smooth sailing, like every other journey. Challenges will always be there, but it’s totally up to you whether you decide to take them as lessons or use them as excuses for failure, and as for me I took them as lessons.
“I was not entirely happy with them because it was not what I had aimed for, but at the same time, I was so proud of myself because I was able to bag seven out of eight distinctions. The other distinction I lost came in handy as motivation for me to do better for my final exams,” he says about his journey.
“I had an academic plan that I drew up at the beginning of the year. It was really hard being consistent with it from the second term due to not being able to achieve some goals I’d set. It helped me a lot though with pushing myself to the limit most of the time.”
He lists his year’s main accomplishments, noting that placing second in the preliminary examinations was his proudest moment.
The 18-year-old from Soweto says this motivated him to work even harder for the final exams.
“My second highlight was that my school’s principal never lost hope in me. He kept on motivating me and gave me guidance throughout the year. My third highlight was that I was never selfish with knowledge. I used to help some learners who were struggling in certain subjects, and I was also doing that for self-enrichment because I knew that by helping them I would also learn new, easier ways to tackle challenges.
“I did encounter challenges, such as not getting the marks I aimed for in certain subjects. When that happened, I would go to the subject teacher and ask for help or an alternative way of doing whatever it was that I had problems with. I was the RCL President of the school.
“I applied at the following universities: UCT, WITS, UP and also Stellenbosch University. My plan for the future is to become a completely better version of myself than I am now by not settling for mediocrity and definitely to have the title of ‘Dr’ under the field of engineering.”
Sharing a message for those who will be doing their matric this year, he says: “Don’t let your background put your back on the ground.”