BEN, 66, BACK at school to live out his dream

Nkosana Lekotjolo

Nkosana Lekotjolo

A Soweto pensioner is determined to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a successful businessman and teaching other adults to read and write.

At the ripe age of 66, Ben Ngcobo was the oldest candidate at the matric rewrite centre at Piet van Vuuren Primary School in Brixton, Johannesburg.

Ngcobo finished his examination last week when he wrote his favourite subject, accounting.

"I am looking forward to the results and feel confident that I have done well," he said.

Ngcobo was among 165000 full-time and part-time candidates across the country who took advantage of the Second Chance Programme.

An initiative of the Department of Education, the programme is aimed at candidates who failed matric or want to improve their symbols.

Ngcobo passed Standard 9 in 1958 at Orlando West High School in Soweto.

But being the family's sole breadwinner, he had to find a job and abandon further study.

In 2003 he wrote Grade 12 and obtained a matric certificate. However, he still wanted to improve his symbols and kept his dream alive of one day becoming a businessman, hence his love for commercial subjects.

He rewrote English and accounting this year to improve his symbols.

"My family was suppor- tive and happy when I told them I wanted to improve my results," he said.

Ngcobo said his children look up to him and he uses his knowledge to help his grandchildren with their homework.

He said he had prepared well for the exams.

A keen reader, Ngcobo said he reads everything from newspapers, magazines to books.