Matric's top brains travelled far for school

Katlego Mahlo of St Mary's School Waverley with her eight distinctions.
Katlego Mahlo of St Mary's School Waverley with her eight distinctions.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

A Soweto teenager managed to attain eight distinctions despite juggling her studies with four leadership positions and a 30km trip to school which made her leave home before 5am every day.

Katlego Mahlo, 18, from Rockville, achieved marks above 90% in mathematics, accounting, Zulu and advanced mathematics.

Mahlo achieved above 80% for the rest of her subjects.

Mahlo, who completed her grade 12 at St Mary's School in Waverley, Johannesburg, yesterday told Sowetan she was looking forward to studying actuarial science after she was accepted by one of the country's top universities.

"I feel very proud of myself. I've always told myself that I would do well in matric."

The second child of two girls, Mahlo received a scholarship to attend the prestigious high school because of her academic abilities.

She said she had to work hard during her grade 12 year while being captain of the school's basketball team, the school's head of resources, the deputy head of spirit (cheerleading) and a member of the diversity committee.

"I made sure that I didn't procrastinate. Whenever we were given an assignment, I would do it on the spot. I also studied throughout the holidays and went through past question papers," she said.

The bright spark also engaged in activities such as playing the marimba and exercising with her friends to cope with the stress associated with preparing for examinations. "It was stressful but I also feel like my school prepared us well for the examinations."

While she has been accepted by the University of Cape Town to study actuarial science, Mahlo is still waiting to get results for her bursary applications.

Her aunt Tumelo Mdlalo said the top pupil had to catch a bus at 4.45am every morning to arrive at school on time.

"She has always been a top student. But what makes me in awe is the fact that no one in the family was employed. "

Her uncle Dithapelo Mahlo said the family was extremely proud of his niece.

"She has put in a lot of work and we are proud of her," Mahlo said. He said they hoped she would continue to excel at university.

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