‘I am not going to die until I complete my matric’: pupil with cerebral palsy

07 January 2020 - 13:13 By Iavan Pijoos
Mandle Nkosi Mbatha, who has cerebral palsy, arrives with his family at the basic education department's 2019 top achievers' breakfast.
Mandle Nkosi Mbatha, who has cerebral palsy, arrives with his family at the basic education department's 2019 top achievers' breakfast.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Mandle Nkosi Mbatha looked his father in the eyes and said: “I am not going to die until I reach my goals.”

One of his biggest was to complete matric in 2019.

The 24-year-old, from Mzimela Senior Secondary School in KwaZulu-Natal, attended the basic education department's top-achieving breakfast in Midrand on Tuesday.

He was one of 33 pupils who were invited to the event by minister of basic education Angie Motshekga.

A total of 790,405 candidates sat for 147 question papers in 7,416 examination centres nationwide.

A further 212 pupils wrote at correctional facilities.



His father, Sipho Mbatha, told TimesLIVE they were “over the moon” when they received the invitation from the department.

“Even my child [Mandle] did not know what to say. He thought he was dreaming and had to pinch himself,” Mbatha said, beaming with pride.  

He said Mandle was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age and the family faced tough challenges raising a child with a neurological condition.

“We used to take him for physiotherapy, but it couldn’t come right. He is fighting for his life,” he said.

Mbatha recalled a time when his son told him he would not give up until he had accomplished his dreams.

“I don’t think I will end at grade 12. I see myself very far in life,” Mandle told his father.

Mbatha said his son aspired to start a foundation to help those in similar situations.

“His dream is to help those who are disabled and in need.”

His mother, Nosipho, described her son as a courageous young man who never gave up.

“He loves education very much and loves to read books.

“At first, I was very emotional when we received the news, but I realised that God loves us, so I am overjoyed to see my son here today.”


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