Don't grow up to be Zuma - Jansen
Professor Jonathan Jansen, the vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State, urged pupils not to turn out like "your president or incompetent government officials" yesterday.
Jansen was invited to motivate Uitenhage High School pupils ahead of their final exam s by Ghauderen Coetzee-De Vos, a former pupil of the school who wrote the book Great South African Teachers .
Jansen started his talk with a bit of comedy: "This was the coldest winter and it is believed that it was so cold that the president was sleeping with his own wives to keep warm."
Once the ice was broken, he got down to business. "The only way out of poverty is through education - not through the ANC and not through connections," he said.
"Girls, respect your bodies. First have a degree, then get pregnant. The boys will run away when they find out that you are pregnant. Protect yourselves at all times.
"Guys, I know it is difficult being you because you live in a country where the most important people in the country do not know how to keep their zips up."
Jansen used himself as an example of someone who had overcome difficult circumstances.
"I grew up in the Cape Flats where I was raised by very religious parents, Abraham and Sarah. They saved me from being like my peers who were drinking alcohol and ended up in jail - they taught me the value of education."
He had been the worst-performing pupil at primary school.
"When I got to Standard 8 [Grade 10], my teacher told me I was pretending to be stupid and that I had potential. From that day on, I never came second in my class, in South Africa and in America. That day changed my life."
"When Oprah [Winfrey] was at my university last year, we spent about 30 minutes just the two of us and I asked her how she managed to be one of the richest women in the world after being molested as a child by her stepfather and was a teenage prostitute."
She told him, "Jonathan, when they gave me a chance for education, I said: 'Oprah, do not mess it up,'' he said.
Anita Nokhetshe, 19, a Grade 12 pupil, said afterwards: "It is nice to hear something positive instead of being told what you cannot do."