A Local teenager, Nqobile Nzimande felt “honored” to be welcomed by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to the Top Achievers Awards in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Thursday evening.
The pupil from St John Paul 2 High School (formally known as Langsyde High), in Elandskop, bagged distinctions for her seven subjects. Speaking to The Witness before she received her award, Nqobile (16), from KwaDeda in Taylor’s Halt, said she was still in shock as she had not seen her results.
“My main goal was to study hard to ensure I get a university entry. I never thought I’d be receiving a national academic award,” she added.
Nqobile received the phone call inviting her to the awards ceremony on New Year’s Eve while relaxing at home. She said she never thought that a girl like her, who comes from “a poor and neglected community”, would receive such a prestigious invitation. “Every year I used to watch the awards ceremony with my family on TV, but I honestly never thought that one day I would also be on TV receiving those prestigious awards,” she laughed.
She added that she was thankful to both her parents for supporting and believing in her. The teenager plans to study actuarial science at the University of Cape Town.
Her mother, Phumzile, said despite knowing that her daughter was capable of obtaining outstanding results, she was stunned by the invitation. “Since primary school, some of her teachers used to tell me how smart she was.
“Sometimes it scared me because I thought my child would go crazy from being as smart as everyone said she was,” she said.
Phumzile added that it was her husband, Mshushusi, who had instilled the love for learning in their daughter. “My husband is a teacher and he used to teach her English and maths even before she started school. Nqobile spoke fluent English before she went to school.
“She was able to solve long division maths problems in Grade 1 and used to be so eager to learn with her father,” she said.
The proud mother added that while she and her husband are happy about their daughter’s performance, they are sad that she might go and study far away from home.