The 50 Siyandisa Foundation Scholarship Recipients of 2018 achieved an impressive 276 distinctions in total in the 2018 matric exams, resulting in an average of more than five distinctions per learner.
These 50 black learners from all nine provinces qualified for the scholarships in their grade 12 year by attaining an above 85% average at the end of Grade 11. Learners could only qualify for the scholarships if their parents or guardians had been exempted from paying for tuition at their respective schools due to financial reasons, essentially ensuring that the scholarships are awarded to learners that have excelled under difficult economic conditions.
In the class of 2018 some of the many exceptional performances include Molelekeng Annah Mokoena from Tsebo Secondary School in the Eastern Free State, who was awarded first position at the National Awards event in the Quintile 1 Schools category with seven distinctions and an average of 94%. For achieving second position in the overall provincial ranking – which includes learners from schools from all Quintile categories – she was also named the Overall Best Candidate at the Free State Provincial awards.
Avukile Nkayi from Nyanga High School in the Eastern Cape obtained a remarkable first position overall in the province and nationally held second position in the Quintile 3 category with seven distinctions and an average of 93,43%.
Kharendwe Mudzielwana from Thengwe Secondary School in Limpopo achieved first position nationally in the Quintile 3 Schools category, and held third position overall at provincial level with seven distinctions and an average of 92,71%.
In turn Felicia Makondo a learner from EPP Mhinga Secondary School, also in Limpopo, achieved third position in the Quintile 3 schools’ category at national level, and held fifth position overall at provincial level with seven distinctions and an average of 92,71%.
“These 50 learners from low income households are among the country’s top academic performers despite facing enormous personal and financial challenges on a daily basis. Each learner has a story to tell of her or his personal road to achieving these marvellous results – stories that are inspirational and humbling, providing strong evidence that despite the many challenges and difficulties facing South Africa, our collective future is bright when we have young people like these that demonstrate continued strength and excellence in the face of adversity,” remarks Cikizwa Bacela, Public Relations and Marketing Manager for the Siyandisa Foundation.
One such story is that of Innocent Mashula, a learner from Mulenga Secondary School in Limpopo who achieved seven distinctions and an average of 92,71% in his final matric results. Upon receiving the Siyandisa Foundation Scholarship last year, Mashula revealed that his mother, with whom he stays alone in a one-room shack in Ndzelele, has had a stroke which left her disabled and unable to do anything for herself. This meant that before Innocent headed out to school every morning, he had to first bath his mom and ensure that she was also fed. He then travelled a distance of over five km to school by foot every morning. At that stage they were fully dependent on the grant she receives for their financial needs, which is also used to sustain other members of the family.
Regardless, he achieved 100% in Physical Sciences, 97% in Life Orientation, 94% in Geography, 92% in both Life Sciences and Mathematics, 88% in Tshivenda home Language and 86% in English First Additional Language in his final matrix examination at the end of last year. In another development to his story the Vhembe District Municipality handed over an RDP house to Innocent and his family on 22 January this year, while members of the community also pledged household goods and a bed to contribute to the Mashula family’s start in their new home.
“The performance of the class of 2018, provides clear evidence that there is hope for our country, with learners who endure and excel despite very challenging circumstances. Some of the personal stories that our recipients have shared, sketch a daunting picture - and yet they have emerged all the stronger, more successful and inspirational for it,” concludes Bacela.
*The Siyandisa Foundation Scholarship Programme was launched in 2017 when 25 top performing black South African grade 12 learners at Free State schools were all awarded its unique scholarships aimed at empowering them to achieve the best possible results in their final matriculation exams and further tertiary studies. In 2018 the scholarship programme launched nationally across all nine provinces to reach double the number of academic achievers, equipping recipients with learning resources that are tailor-made for the scholarship programme and cover key subjects in the South African school curriculum. The programme further supports learners through critical tools such as specialist support career guidance counselling and mentorship.
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