A HEALTHY diet and balanced lifestyle, a commitment to your vision coupled with constant prayer and sheer hard work and study, that is what some of Gauteng’s top learners recommend to their peers and contemporaries as a recipe for success.
The bright youngsters were rewarded with prizes including bursaries, laptops and cash at the Gauteng government’s matric results announcement and prize giving ceremony held in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
One of the star pupils Zamahlangu Mahlangu, had to put her appearance at these awards by a year while coming to terms with a debilitating loss.
She was named as the top achiever from a township school and a top achiever from a Secondary School Intervention Programme (SSIP).
The star pupil from Emadwaleni High School in Johannesburg West obtained seven distinctions and is preparing to study bio medical technology at Wits University.
Mahlangu stays with her mother Thoko and brother in Meadowlands, Soweto.
Her mother describes her as a self-starter and straight A student.
Mahlangu was supposed to write her matric in 2019 but lost a grand-father and an uncle in a space of two months which affected her focus to a point where she sat out her matric exams, arguing that she would not give her best.
When she returned last year, the outbreak of COVID-19 caused her mother anxiety as she feared that she may lose a second year of study.
“When COVID-19 happened last year, I was not sure if I will write my exam, but I kept preparing in the hope that we would,” she says.
Asked what her secret is, she notes “there is no secret, it’s just hard work and study.
”The award for a top learner with a disability went to Omphile Makhanya of Prinshofskool in Tshwane West.
Makhanya obtained distinctions in English Home language, Afrikaans, Music and Business studies.
The visually impaired youngster speaks with a confident disposition that betrays her disability, which is impossible to detect through normal interaction. Ahead of receiving her award she told the story of how after attending a mainstream creche, her mother, former journalist Keloe Makhanya, felt that her intelligence gift would not be fully realized.
Through parental and schooling support, she simply took a conscious decision not to let her disability limit her.
Her study option includes lm and video production and communication science at the University of Johannesburg/ Noelle Vann Der Walt of Hoerskool Menlo Park in Tshwane South came third overall best student in the province.
She says the secret to her success is to lead a balanced and healthy life that was not only focused on academics. This included an almost daily exercise routine. This is why the lockdown proved frustrating for her.
“The early part of the lockdown was frustrating because in the afternoon I would be sitting in my room instead of exercising, which I need to keep my brain fresh and focused.”
Van der Walt said she started exercising as soon as restrictions lifted, which often meant jogging on her own or with her sister. She is now preparing to further her studies at Stellenbosch University, partly aided by a bursary from the Gauteng government.
Blessing Mlambo of the IR Lesolang secondary School in Winterveldt is another star performer under the SSIP programme.
The programme offered extra lessons of normal school hours and when Covid19 struck to make up for lost time the lessons would be offered on Sundays, something which Mlambo complied with without complaining.
“When the lock-down happened, I kept myself motivated through prayer and revisiting my vision board to remind myself what I want to achieve in life” says Mlambo who encourages the class of 2021 to “have dreams, and believe in them”
At the ceremony there were also prizes for the three top schools which went to Hoerskool Menlo Park, Hoerskool Garsfontein and Hoerskool Waterkloof.
(SOURCE: INSIDE EDUCATION)