IT IS a celebration of perseverance, achievement and staying power against all the odds.
It is a victory for two pupils, their families, their school and their community.
IT IS ONE SCHOOL, TWO PUPILS, 14 DISTINCTIONS.
Today classmates Xolani Kiwa (17) and Mbali Shamu (18) from Esokwazi Secondary School in Sebokeng in the Vaal are all smiles. But the long road to seven distinctions for each has been bumpy and difficult.
“It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication to earn good results,” said Mbali.
“I understand my journey starts here. It has always been my dream to study medicine and now I am going to do it.”
Mbali, from a family of four in Eaton Side near Evaton, walked 10km a day to and from school and was often without electricity.
She said she studied hard but she could not have done it without the support of her family.
Mbali’s mother, Khethiwe Shamu (36), who is unemployed, said 2016 was a very difficult year.
“There were days when I thought my daughter would not achieve great results,” she said.
“Some nights I sat with my daughter, motivating her to do better.
“I even walked to school with her sometimes, forgetting about the chores so she could focus.”