THE face of a Grade 12 orphaned boy lit up with a smile for the first time yesterday after many days of hopelessness and disillusion.
Lucky Nakana, 17, thought he was daydreaming when the principal of Mokope Secondary School in Bolobedu finally enrolled him.
"Thanks to Sowetan for being there to persuade the principal to enrol me," Lucky said.
The pupil, whose parents died last year under mysterious circumstances, had been going to the school since the first day of the reopening two weeks ago.
But his pleas for enrolment had always been unsuccessful after management refused to enrol him, saying he was late.
Lucky was allegedly told he was late for admission since other children were registered last year for this school year.
To prove his seriousness about learning, Lucky had gone as far as trying to convince the circuit officer for the department to persuade the principal, known only as Modjadji, to register him, but all his efforts were in vain.
But all that was history yesterday after officials from the provincial department of education ordered Modjadji to enrol the boy.
"I am finally going to do what I always wanted - complete my matric and study journalism next year. Then I will be able to work and provide for my siblings," he said.
He was derailed in his plans after falling ill a week before the start of the year-end examinations last year.
He could not sit for the exams because he was in hospital until he recovered earlier this year.
"When I came out of the hospital all I could think of was to start where I had left off last year and study hard so that I could make it at the end of the year. But my dreams were nearly shattered when the school refused to admit me," he said.
The general manager for communications and services in the department of education, Cebile Khanye, said yesterday the department was disappointed at the way the boy was treated.
She said the South African School Governing Act was very clear on the admission of children at schools.
"It is a common practice that no child should be refused admission at a school, no mater what the policy or circumstances.
"In most instances the child is enrolled in a school and continues learning while his or her parents or guardians attend to his problem. It is this type of behaviour that sometimes compromises the integrity of our department," she said.
Khanye apologised on behalf of the department for any inconvenience Luckyhas had to endure.