IEB achiever goes from a back room to life in Austria
Edith Sibanda left her home in Ngwana, Zimbabwe, in 2001 in search of a better life for herself and her young daughter, Miranda Mncube. She found a job as a domestic worker in Johannesburg and, a few months later, her boss encouraged her to bring her young child to come and live with her.
This week, Mncube (17), joined other matrics who celebrated success with the announcement of the Independent Examination Board (IEB) class of 2015 results. Her mother’s hard work and sacrifice has paid off with her three Bs, and soon she will be jetting off to Austria to study marketing.
“When I was in Parkhurst Primary School, I was so used to being in the top three all the time, but when I got to high school – Hyde Park High – my marks dropped a lot, and I realised that I needed to work differently and harder,” says Mncube.
Johannesburg’s Hyde Park High School is the only state school that follows the IEB curriculum, which is preferred by expensive private schools.
Mncube, one of 10 212 IEB matrics from 200 schools who wrote their final exams late last year, 98.3% of whom passed, is very close to her mother, with whom she shared a servant’s room at the Sandton home where her mum worked.
She is not the type to give a mother any sleepless nights.
“I don’t drink or smoke or go out to clubs. Occasionally, I go to the mall and see a movie with friends; otherwise, I am at home relaxing or playing with the children of family friends.”
During exams, she said she had to be rather strict with herself.
“I did a trial run during prelims where I didn’t put any data or airtime on my phone so I could focus, but then it didn’t work that well because I needed help from my friends to learn some stuff. But then, when it came to finals, I told my mum I didn’t want any data.
“I went to sleep at 11pm or 12am every night until about 10am the next morning, and then I would put in a full day’s work with no interruptions – except for the occasional walk around outside for fresh air.
“Even when my mum would come into the room, I would tell her to please go away so I could work.”
With hard work comes great reward and, if all goes to plan, Mncube will be heading to Austria early this year to live with one of her mother’s former employers, who has offered to pay for all her expenses.
She was able to obtain a 65% average in her final results, with 72% for her favourite subject – geography. Her plan is to learn German for the next six months before looking into getting into university abroad, where she wants to study marketing.
Her mother is set to give birth to her second child any day now.
“It will be hard leaving my mum and new sibling, but I think it is better that I am not here so that she does not have both of us to look after,” says Mncube.
“We have lived together all this time, so it will be hard being away from my mum, but it will be good for us because I can get an education, find a job and look after the baby and my mum.”
Wrapping an arm around her daughter, Sibanda jokes that if her daughter does not keep in touch with her, she will send for her to come back home immediately.
SKY’S THE LIMIT Miranda Mncube (left) and her proud mother, Edith Sibanda