On Tuesday morning the department of basic education hosted a special breakfast to honour 30 top achieving students from the matric class of 2019.
Minister Angie Motshekga and her deputy, Dr Makgabo Mhaule, welcomed the top achievers and their parents at the Vodacom Dome at Vodacom World in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Motshekga said the learners were a testament of hard work.
“You are the crème de la crème. Out of more than 600 000 learners you came out on top,” she told the excited students.
“With all the challenges you face, including a lack of teachers and poor infrastructure, you still managed to come out on top,” Motshekga said.
The minister told those at the breakfast that she was delighted to see the bottom tier schools – with all their various challenges – catching up to the historically high performing schools.
“We are proud of you, you are the best of the best. Be the best where you are going,” Motshekga encouraged the learners.
She added that these learners will help South Africa become a global player in the fourth industrial revolution.
Phillip Mnisi from Hazyview Comprehensive in Mpumalanga said that one of his biggest challenges in matric was that he had to be a tutor for other learners.
“During the day I had to teach other learners who were struggling. This meant that I only got to learn when I got home, which was a struggle,” Mnisi said.
Mnisi said that the class of 2020 should focus on getting things done on time and not procrastinating. “It is also important to help others too,” Mnisi added. Mnisi is still waiting for confirmation on how he will fund his tertiary education, but says he wants to attend the University of Johannesburg and achieve his dream of becoming a mechanical engineer.
Tlotlo Lekgoba from Baitiredi Technical & Commercial High School in the Northern Cape, said she is looking forward to studying actuarial science at the University of the Witwatersrand so that she’ll be able to help people from poor communities to better manage their finances.
“I want to use my career to fill those [financial education] gaps,” Lekgoba said.
Her advice to the class of 2020 was “be humble”.
“It doesn’t only take hard work. You must be humble. If you are a humble person it goes a long way to help you deal with stress and failure,” Lekgoba said.