Aiming to excel despite the odds against him

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1976
Aiming to excel despite the odds against him

He Plans to be the first person in his family to pass matric. If he does, Monaheng Machidi, 20, who has been living alone in a room that has a separate entrance to his brother’s shack in Malmesbury, might be able to get a tertiary qualification that will enable him to earn enough money to be the first member of his family to own a house.

Machidi’s parents died 10 years ago.

The youngest of four siblings, he says there is “nothing that will stop” him from passing his final exam, and passing well.

He is the student president at Lingelethu Secondary School – the school that achieved the lowest matric pass rate in the province last year, with 41,03 percent. This year, the school is aiming for a 60 percent pass rate. Sitting on a chair he constructed with scrap pieces of wood, Machidi said he had to walk about 10 km to the main town of Malmesbury to get to the library where he would study with his best friend, aiming to excel despite the odds against him end.

The two had been working to a rigorous study timetable – with up to seven hours dedicated to each subject a day. He said in some of his classes, there were as many as 80 pupils.

However, accessing past papers online was a problem.

There was limited internet access in the township and Machidi said he needed to use his cellphone, which ran out of airtime “very quickly” to access the internet.
“It would mean so much to me if I should pass.

“The first thing I want to do is build my family a proper house- one with concrete walls and running water. But I also want to make a difference in the lives of homeless people in the Eastern Cape where I know housing is a huge issue,” Machidi said.

He planned to study information technology at Cape Peninsula University of Technology next year.

Earlier this year the Cape Times reported that the school suffered a blow when its computer lab, donated by a foreign donor was broken into. All 28 computers, including monitors and keyboards were stolen. The computers have since not been replaced.

The school had kept the pupils busy with spring, winter and Saturday classes that were made available to pupils.

Machidi said the extra tutoring helped him a lot after he nearly failed his June exams.

“I was shocked at my result and knew I had to turn things around. I attended all the extra classes that were provided. The results showed during my September mock exam, which I passed with flying colours.”

The school’s deputy principal, Vuyusile Mhlaungulwana, said the school went from a 35.8 percent pass rate in 2012 to 41.03 percent last year.

Overcrowding at the school was a problem Machidi said, with as many as 50 pupils per class.

Cape Times

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