Vuyani Zungu and Zamani Sithole passed their matric with flying colours and are now pinning their hopes on getting either government funding or bursaries to pursue university education.
Zungu, 18, from Masibumbane High in Ulundi, was the top matric pupil in the Zululand district with eight distinctions.
He dreams of being a chartered accountant and although he has been accepted at the University of Witwatersrand, he cannot afford to go.
“I worked really hard last year to get good marks and make my family and my school proud but now I’m worried that I might not get a bursary because I’ve not received any offers yet,” he said.
A teacher at Masibumbane High, Linda Ndwandwe, described Zungu as a diligent and disciplined pupil who did not just rely on being “naturally smart” but put in the necessary work to get good marks.
“He was an exemplary pupil and he was very active in study groups. He did our school proud and represented the school in various competitions where he came out tops,” he said.
Zungu’s father, Sibusiso Zungu, said his oldest son had set the bar very high for his other four children.
“I’m very proud of what he has done and I’ve told him that these eight distinctions are a start. Now the real hard work begins when he gets to varsity because tertiary education is more demanding,” he said.
Qhobo High’s top achiever, Zamani Sithole from Nquthu, passed his matric with seven distinctions and hopes to study pharmacy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Sithole and his four siblings are being raised by his grandmother, Nana Linda, who is supporting the family with her government pension.
“Their mother died when they were still very young and their father is paralysed and cannot work. I hope Zamani gets a sponsorship so that he can study and help rescue this family from poverty,” Linda said.
Sithole did not even have money to apply to university. His teachers assisted him but now he is holding onto the hope that a good Samaritan will come to his rescue.
“I’m really sad because my former classmates are now busy with registration and I don’t even know if I’m going anywhere,” he said.
Both matriculants have now pinned their hopes on either private sponsors or funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.