23 February 2023
A 19-year-old Makwela from Burgersdorp in Tzaneen who went to Rivoni School For The Blind in Elim, Limpopo, was among the top 30 achievers across the country who were invited to the ministerial breakfast hosted by Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.
Motshekga hosted the matric learners and their parents for a congratulatory breakfast on the morning of Thursday at MTN Innovation Centre in Fairlands, Johannesburg.
The top achiever told IOL that he lost his eyesight in 2019 and all hope of achieving his goal was gone but with the support from family and friends he managed to stay focused on his studies.
“I managed to achieve such excellent results because of my dedication, drive, passion and my hunger for success. And also because I wanted to put it out there that just because you are disabled doesn’t mean you cannot do something,” he said.
He said losing his eyesight affected him in a good way as he got to be the best achiever for his 2022 academic year.
“It was because of that that I was able to explore hidden talents that I did not know about myself,” he added.
His mother Shelly Makwela said she was happy to be witnessing her son being invited to join the best.
“I am so happy to see my son here with other great learners. I did not expect to be called to such a great event, but with how clever he was from his childhood, I knew something would happen. Only God could do this, he has now made it,” she said.
She described the top achiever as one of the most humble, clever and tidy people, even from childhood.
She said Tshepo did not cope after losing his eyesight and did not even want to go school because he was afraid that his peers would speak ill of him.
She stated that the government was very helpful in terms of ensuring that her son progressed well without problems.
The top achiever said he used sound to study and memories of his notes while studying. He said he received a device that he could use to study.
“Everything I read or memorise, I used headsets so that I could hear everything.”
He said his friends even created a WhatsApp group where they would send voice notes for him to listen and study.
He thanked his mother, uncle, friends and teachers for the support they showed him during his hard times, especially the teachers who went out of their way to explain the context as if it was visible to him.
“They explained everything in detail, I could even picture what they said,” he recounted.
His message to other blind people, particularly learners who are in matric, was for them to never give up.
He said that he will be doing education this year as it has been one of his goals to become a teacher and also become a motivational speaker.
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Source: IOL News