Sixty-seven-year-old granny Noria Sombhane was heavily praised after her granddaughter Masungulo Maluleke became the first learner at Ximunwani High school at Phaphazela village to attain seven distinctions and to be invited to the provincial awards ceremony.
Maluleke, whose school is in Malamulele in Limpopo province was in the provincial Top 30 highest achieving learners.
The 17-year-old girl has sent the school and the rural community into a frenzy after she attained distinctions in Physical Science, Mathematics, Geography, Life Orientation, Xitsonga, English and Life Science.
The school threw a party for her late on Friday afternoon after she came back from Polokwane where she was presented with a laptop, certificate and trophy by Limpopo premier Stanley Mathabatha for coming 25th in the province.
Maluleke, whose name Masungulo means the first, was praised for being the first in the community and the school for achieving such a feat. The school principal, Eric Baloyi, said she put the school on the map and they were considering starting a school’s hall of fame where they would inscribe her name in either gold or silver so as to inspire other learners to see their names up there too.
“We also thank her granny Noria Sombhane who despite not having gone to school herself was the tower of strength behind her granddaughter and she used to come to school to collect the awards for the girl,” said Baloyi.
Baloyi described Maluleke as “disciplined, reserved, respectful and a hard worker.”
“There was no doubt she would make it because she combined her high IQ with hard work,” he said.
The school’s deputy principal Noel Manganyi who teaches Physical Science in which Maluleke notched 98% said if she failed to get distinction in any of the subjects, the blame would be laid at the door of the school.
Granny Sombhane was happy that Maluleke was not distracted by the poor background at home.
Her unemployed parents do not live together.
Selina Sithagu, who is the school governing body chairperson, and Phanuel Maluleke, who is the local ward 18 councillor at the local Collins Chabane municipality said Maluleke’s success would inspire others.
Maluleke who is heading to the University of Cape Town to do Chemical Engineering said everybody knew how she did it.
“All my friends knew that it was not easy to be my friend because it meant studying hard. I wanted to be invited to the national prize giving ceremony and although I did not succeed, I have tried because I have received provincial honours,” she said.
She said she knew that after her achievement at the high school she was starting a new life at university level.
“A new ball game has started and we will also need your support as we go to university to work for our future,” she told teachers and parents.
She said she knew it would not be easy and was ready for the task.
Ximunwana high achieved 67,2% pass in the exams after 122 sat for the exam, 30 received bachelor passes, 28 received diplomas, 82 received certificate pass and 4 failed.