Unathi Eighteen, 18, the top matriculant at Dunoon’s Inkwenkwezi Secondary School with three distinctions, says she was very hard on herself last year and wished she had taken longer breaks because she was “freaking out”.
She had wanted to practise from past papers but had had no access to the internet to do so, she said, adding that she was the first in her family to reach matric and her parents’ encouragement had helped her to do her best.
“I believe my hard work paid off because I battled with myself to work hard,” she said.
Unathi will be studying at the University of Johannesburg and dreams of one day working at a top IT company.
Macebo Asavela, 18, placed second in the school’s top ten with two distinctions despite “learning and living in an unstable community”.
She is also the first person to matriculate in her family and stayed after school to study until 8pm.
She will be going to Wits University to study a BCom, and she hopes to do a postgraduate degree in accounting.
“I would like to tell all pupils that they must focus because you are under a lot of pressure all the time.”
Dube Sibusiso, 18, bagged two distinctions and placed third on the school’s top-ten list.
He said he was grateful to principal Tyobile Beauty, who made it possible for him study at the school after hours, away from the noisy one-bedroom shack he shares with his uncle and little sister.
Ms Beauty said that after learning about Dube’s domestic struggles, she had allowed him and a few other pupils to use some of the school’s classrooms as study rooms.
Dube has been accepted to study at UCT.
“I am the first person in my family to go to a university and the second to matriculate. You have no idea what this means to me,” he said.
Dube will continue to live in Dunoon and travel to class because he still has to look after his sister.
He said tutoring his classmates had helped him get through his matric year.
Dube encouraged this year’s matric pupils to manage their time, read over past papers and have fun while learning.
Ms Beauty congratulated all matriculants and said she was very proud of the 2023 matric class.