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Mazibuko pays it forward by tutoring

Image: 123RF/Yulia Grogoryeva

When Stellenbosch University medical student Lindokuhle Mazibuko is not in class or doing his rounds at Tygerberg Hospital, he is tutoring Khayelitsha's high school kids, helping them excel in maths and science.

Every weekend for the past four years, the fourth-year student has tutored students in grades 11 and 12 at Iqhayiya Secondary School, where most pupils come from communities that grapple with poverty, overcrowding, alcoholism and violent crime.

Mazibuko, from Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal, said he was a living proof that poverty didn't have to be a stumbling block to excellence.

In 2015, he made news headlines after clinching nine distinctions in matric.

"For me it's all about uplifting others. I know how it is to live in poverty and to go to school hungry," Mazibuko said.

"I want these school kids to know that your present circumstances don't have to define your future. You can be poor and still excel academically and in life in general."

Even though Mazibuko has led the tutoring project singlehandedly over the past few years, he hopes the launch of a tutoring society at Stellenbosch this month will expand the programme.

"Registering a society will definitely open a platform for more students who want to tutor. But more importantly, it will help us get support from the university... whether it's financial or through transport," he said.

His journey with the Khayelitsha pupils started when fellow medical student Khulasande Nqabeni, who was already tutoring at Iqhayiya Secondary, told him pupils needed help.

Because he is a product of tutoring, he jumped at the opportunity.

Mazibuko was the first student to benefit from the government's High Flyers programme.

The 22-year-old said without the help of top teachers and subject advisers, he would not have achieved top marks.

If the Khayelitsha school's steadily improving matric results are anything to go by, the additional support is working.

Western Cape education department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the no-fee school had maintained a matric pass rate of more than 80% in the past five years, and was aiming for 85% this year.