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Phiwayinkosi Halalisani Mhlongo from Soweto’s Bona Comprehensive School, came tops in the country in technical maths and technical sciences – even though he lived alone in a rented room.
His mother Octavia Mpanza has motivated him throughout his studies and instilled discipline; his father Bongani Mhlongo would regularly call to motivate him from home in KwaZulu-Natal.
“They always send me money to buy stationery, rent a room and buy food. They’ve always supported me, telling me I should study so I can get rid of poverty.”
Phiwayinkosi lived in a rented room in Soweto and finished his Grade 12 syllabus by April without the help of a teacher.
“I didn’t wait for teachers. My advice to this year’s Grade 12s is to try to finish the syllabus in one of the main subjects by April so that it’ll be easy to understand when the teacher comes into class.”
Phiwayinkosi obtained seven distinctions, including 100% for technical mathematics and 97% for technical sciences. (17), What else could parents do to ensure their children to do well at school?
SMS us on 35697 using the keyword PARENTS and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50. By participating, you agree to receive occasional marketing material Qaqambile Mehlwana (18) passed his matric at the exclusive Michaelhouse school in KwaZulu-Natal.
He said his mother Nontuthuzelo Sibango gave him the opportunity to study at the school – one of the most expensive in the country. It cost R265 680 for tuition and boarding last year.
Her investment paid off as her son scored nine distinctions, including 97% for maths.
“She was always pushing me and reminding me to try harder, and would say anything is possible. She would call, checking up on me and have small talks to support me,” he said.
“In some instances, she would remind me that other people where I come from [Myezo suburb in Mthatha, Eastern Cape] didn’t let their circumstances stop them from achieving.”
Since he was not staying with his mother, Mehlwana said he also relied on his friends for support. They would crack jokes to make him laugh: “My friends were there to calm me down and would say everything will be okay. They were there to support me and be my rock, not my distraction.”
His advice to this year’s Grade 12s is that they should not overthink everything.
“That will put pressure on them and will weigh them down. They must take their studies step by step and relax. They must also not underestimate taking notes in class. People underestimate this; they just sit down and listen and go back home. The problem with that is you might miss a small but important detail. You can’t remember everything. Taking notes worked for me, 100%,” he said. Christine Tinotenda Mudzingwa (17) was Gauteng’s top achiever, scoring eight distinctions. The lowest of the Greenside High School pupil’s marks was 86% – everything else was in the 90s.
She said her mother Egines supported her in various ways.
“She provided me with a lot of emotional support by making sure that I wasn’t too stressed out and by encouraging me to talk to her about what was going on in my life, including my school life,” she said.
“And she comforted and encouraged me even after some bad exams, which helped me to get into the right headspace for the rest of my papers. “She also took care of everything around the house and assured me that studying was my priority.”
The chores Egines took over included dropping Christine’s books at the library if she was pressed for time, helping her keep her room tidy, and organising and preparing meals.
Christine’s advice to this year’s matrics is to take advantage of every available opportunity, such as free extra lessons offered by their schools, and to pay attention in class.
“They must ask their teachers, who are often ready and willing to offer any kind of support a pupil needs, for help – whether academic or emotional. I would also encourage pupils to start working early so that it doesn’t all suddenly become too much when finals come around” she said.