Pupil beats the odds

Benedict Nafooh Khobotie received a Special Ministerial Award for outstanding matric results under very difficult circumstances. With him is Premier Helen Zille and Education MEC Debbie Schafer.

Of the many success stories that have emerged from the 2017 matric results, one pupil rose high above his difficult conditions to achieve excellent marks.

Benedict Nafooh Khobotle, 19, who attended Scottsdene High in Kraaifontein, achieved a 72% average “under very, very trying conditions”.

Benedict, who lives in Wallacedene, right next to a shebeen, said he often had to wait for the noise from the shebeen to stop before he could study.

“Sometimes, I would only start studying at midnight or even one or two o’clock,” he said.

Benedict had also tried many times, unsuccessfully, to apply for an ID and had to write exams with just his birth certificate.

The shy pupil, who was dressed in his school uniform which he had already outgrown, melted the hearts of many people at a recent awards ceremony at Leeuwenhof, Premier Helen Zille’s residence,

with his inspirational story.

Benedict had high praise for his principal, Karel Cupido, and his life orientation teacher, Rosalind Katts, who allowed him to stay at her house during October so that he could study in silence and prepare for the exams.

Benedict’s mother, Alfonsina is a single parent and was unable to attend the awards ceremony.

“I have a seven-year-old brother, Katleho, who I must not only look after but also set an example to,” said Benedict.

Mr Cupido said the race was now on to get Benedict a place to study this year as he had been unable to apply to any universities or colleges because of the hold-up with his ID.

“Benedict did not want to be embarrassed by being turned down, so he didn’t apply. We are, however, doing everything we can to get him in somewhere so he can pursue studies in IT,” said Mr Cupido.

Benedict, however, has a letter from Home Affairs indicating that his ID application is being processed.

One of the prizes he received was a laptop and when he looked into the gift bag, tears welled up in his eyes.

“I and many of my friends never had access to computers at home. Now I have my own laptop. I cannot believe it.”

The class of 2017 did the province proud with the number one and number two spots in the country going to the Western Cape’s Janke van Dyk from Hoërskool Bellville and Matthys Carstens from Hoërskool Durbanville.

The Western Cape achieved an 84.4% pass rate and was placed third in the country. The province’s pass rate, however, had dropped by 3.3% from 87.7% in the 2016 NSC exams.

The Western Cape again achieved the highest percentage of Bachelor’s passes in the country, with 39.1% of pupils achieving this quality pass.