Matric results: Soweto matric student shrugs off countless challenges to shine with three distinctions | News24


Kutlwano Matebele, a pupil from Forte High School in Soweto.

  • A Soweto pupil achieved three matric distinctions despite enduring one of the most hardest years.
  • Kutlwano Matebele, a pupil from Forte High School in Soweto started new subjects in matric, lost her dearest friend and almost lost her grandmother to a stroke. 
  • She said matric was very challenging but helped her realise she was stronger for her struggles.
  • Matric NSC results: Here’s when and how to check yours on News24

After changing subjects at the start of matric, facing severe academic pressure, losing a dear friend and even having her grandmother suffer a minor stroke, a Soweto pupil still shone through.

Despite these trials and tribulations, Kutlwano Matebele, a pupil from Forte High School in Soweto, stood firm and now stands as a top achiever.

Matebele secured three distinctions for her National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam results.

This was a huge achievement for her, especially as she started taking new subjects during matric, and had to play catch-up throughout the year.

Matebele, who in Grade 10 and 11 studied Physical Science, Life Sciences, and Mathematics, made a life-changing decision in her matric year to swap out those subjects for History, Geography, and Mathematics Literacy.

Despite excelling in Physical Science, Matebele said she changed her subjects after noticing she struggled with mathematics and felt she couldn’t carry on.

READ | Matric results: Gauteng education MEC promises ‘rapid’ evaluation for non-performing schools

“I changed because I was not performing well with the [initial] subjects… I thought I needed to change because had I not, I wouldn’t have got to where I wanted to be with my matric results,” she said.

The last-minute change shocked her mom, who was worried about her daughter’s mental health.

“My mom was against it because she felt I couldn’t do new subjects in matric as it would mess up my knowledge and mental health.

“I told her that should I stay [with her subjects]… it would mess me up even more because I wouldn’t reach the marks I wanted. But along the way, she realised it was a good thing, and supported me,” she said.

Her mother was not the only one against her changing subjects, her teacher also believed she would be limited in her career choices if she moved away from science.

Matebele said: 

I was told that I was really good at physics and that science offers a lot of career pathways and that doing maths was going to limit me, but I was limited when I was doing pure maths. After changing, I felt free.

Liberated from her worries, Matebele she said she still needed to work hard and catch up on the things she missed out on, which added to the already existing workload in matric.

“Matric was very challenging. I struggled to keep up with all of the subjects, especially two of the ones that were new to me.

“There was a point where I felt demotivated and tired… I felt anxious because I kept wondering if I was going to be able to do it or not. Eventually, I overcame it by just persisting and studying.”

What got Matebele through the academic stress was adapting to effective study methods like taking notes, revising question papers, and asking her teachers for help when she struggled with concepts.

READ | Matric results: ‘Hard work does not betray’ – Two pupils tie for first place in NSC results

But just when she thought she was done taking all the academic blows, things became even harder when her dearest friend died, and then her grandmother suffered a minor stroke during the prelims.

Matebele felt extremely demotivated but remembering her grandmother’s words: ‘no matter what happens, you have to keep going and reach your goals’, she knew she had to keep pushing, despite life’s hard hits.

She managed to make it into the top 10 achievers for her prelims.

Looking back at her year, Matebele said the year came with many lessons, even in the tough times.

“My matric year taught me how to tackle many problems, especially when it comes to mental health. And having to make it into the top three for my prelims really showed me just how strong I was.”

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