Brilliant and brave Jamie
It was a truly moving moment when Jamie Paterson met Sowetan columnist Lucky Mazibuko in Sandton, Johannesburg, this week.
Paterson, who overcame the trauma of rape before the matric exams and managed to pass with seven distinctions, was accompanied by her family when Mazibuko gave her a beautiful bunch of flowers to honour her admirable spirit.
The meeting is part of the Sowetan and Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation's campaign to honour ordinary people who attain extraordinary feats.
Last October, 17-year-old Jamie and her family were attacked by five armed men in their home in Sandton
After they hit Jamie's mother Bronwyn, tied her father Allen to a chair and robbed the family, one of the robbers took Jamie to a bedroom and raped her.
After the rape, the robber told Jamie that he was HIV-positive.
The family's harrowing ordeal lasted for more than an hour.
Bronwyn Paterson spent two weeks in hospital. Two weeks after the rape, Jamie became ill when her body reacted to the medication she was taking.
In spite of her weak condition, the brave girl continued studying hard. She wrote her matric exams at Roedean School in Parktown, Johannesburg. She achieved distinctions in English, Afrikaans, maths, additional mathematics, science, biology and music.
"I used the exams as a distraction to the traumatic experience," Jamie said.
The Paterson family attended a series of counselling sessions at Wits University.
"We are very grateful for the support we received from friends and people we did not even know," said Allen Paterson.
Four of the robbers who brutalised the family were arrested and the family's two cars were recovered within 48 hours.
Jamie has tested HIV negative, but she will have to go for a follow-up test soon.
This year Jamie will do her A levels at St John's College and afterwards she intends to study medicine at either Oxford or Cambridge University in the UK.
The intelligent and very brave young girl plays the piano and the flute.
Mazibuko said he admires Jamie's courage.
"I am inspired and profoundly humbled by Jamie's will to live, her hopefulness and also her resilience," Mazibuko said.