joyful tearS over matric

NONHLANHLA Thela is the toast of her family, her school and her township this morning.

The 16-year-old scored seven As and a B in her National Senior Certificate exams.

Her unbelievable feat includes a 100 percent pass in pure mathematics.

Yesterday the teenager was in tears at her home in Umlazi Section B over the news that she had passed with flying colours.

Her mother, Malo, and neighbours mobbed the teenager. Onlookers began to ululate and tears of joy flowed in celebration.

The gathering erupted into cheers at the the news that she achieved straight As in IsiZulu, English, life Orientation, pure maths, maths paper three, electrical technology, engineering graphics and design and a B in physical science. Her teacher confirmed her results.

A pupil at the Umlazi Comprehensive Technical High, Nonhlanhla listened in disbelief as she was told she was among top matriculants in KwaZulu-Natal.

She broke down in tears, saying her hard work had paid off.

Her mother Malo thanked God and praised her daughter for working hard.

She said she was expecting good results from her last born but getting 100 percent in pure maths was a bonus.

"My angel did exceptionally well. She always put a lot of effort in her studies.

"She never had time to play with other children. Instead she spent her time studying," Thelo said.

"Some people in the township do not know her.

"They are surprised when I tell them she is my last born. She is hardly seen outside the house."

"I knew I'd pass but didn't know how well I would do," Nonhlanhla said.

"My dreams have come true.

" I'm grateful that I made my parents and teachers proud.

"I have to complete my journey by doing the same in university."

The family live in a modest four-roomed house she shares with three brothers and her parents.

In 2008 Nonhlanhla was granted an Old Mutual bursary to study actuarial science at the University of Cape Town. The bursary covers tuition, books and accommodation.

Her father arrived home to be greeted by people celebrating outside. He looked stunned and embraced Nonhlanhla with tears in his eyes.

"I knew it," he said.

"I'm proud of her and I want her to remember that as she will heading to university, the same applies."

Her teacher, S'bu Mkhize, described her as a disciplined pupil.

"She has scored high marks over the past five years with us. We are grateful for her performance.

"We have other students who have excelled too, but so far Nonhlanhla tops the list."