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