Daily Dispatch

Mthatha pupil to head off for Canada indaba

- SIKHO NTSHOBANE MTHATHA BUREAU sikhon@dispatch.co.za

A Grade 12 pupil from Mthatha has won a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunit­y” to accompany Motsepe Foundation chief executive Precious Moloi-Motsepe to a prestigiou­s women’s conference in Canada next week.

Excelsior Comprehens­ive School pupil Olona Mvoko, 17, is among five pupils who were chosen by their schools for the trip. The others are from Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo and the Free State. The foundation will foot the bill for the pupils.

Moloi-Motsepe is one of the speakers at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference in Vancouver from Monday to Thursday.

The Dispatch has seen a copy of a letter written to Excelsior principal Mluleki Nikelo by Moloi-Motsepe, explaining that she had been invited to speak on high investment for empowering women and girls.

“We are extending an invitation to five students from the Motsepe Foundation best performing anchor schools. We are pleased to invite one of your best Grade 12 female learners from the science stream who has shown academic and leadership strength. . .

“The conference is a platform for people around the world to present new perspectiv­es and provide world-class solutions,” the letter says.

The conference takes place every four years and is recognised globally. It sees more than 7,000 world leaders, advocates, academics, activists and journalist­s gather to discuss ways to accelerate progress for women’s rights and equal participat­ion.

Olona said she was excited and nervous at the same time as she had never been exposed to so many people.

“I didn’t believe it at first when the principal announced the news.”

Her dream is to become a doctor specialisi­ng in women’s health.

Nikelo said the school had chosen Olona because she was the top science pupil in Grade 12.

Excelsior is regarded as one of the best performing schools in Mthatha after recording a 98.6% matric pass mark last year. It attained 95.6% in 2017 and 82% in 2016.

But the school garnered negative publicity in 2017 when two pupils, aged 14 and 17, were arrested after being found in possession of a pistol and two pellet guns. At the time, Nikelo told the Dispatch that the school was battling pupils’ drug abuse.

But the principal said Mvoko’s trip to Canada would change any negative perception­s of the school.

“We are extremely excited as her story will paint a good picture of our school.”

The school was among several that received R150,000 from the Motsepe Foundation last year.

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OLONA MVOKO

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