SA's top three matric maths boffins of 2019 share their secrets to success

The department of basic education introduced the country's top three maths achievers on Tuesday.
The department of basic education introduced the country's top three maths achievers on Tuesday.
Image: 123RF/purplequeue

Timothy Murphy from Rondebosch Boys’ High School in Cape Town emerged as the top mathematics achiever in the 2019 matric exams.

The department of basic education said on Tuesday evening that Murphy “had to forego his success in sport in order to excel in his academics. This he managed to accomplish by surrounding himself with like-minded, positive friends – a lesson for the 2020 cohort of grade 12s.”

Murphy's proficiency in maths saw him achieve the top award at his school. His other achievements include being named the top advanced programme (AP) mathematics learner in grade 12 and sharing first place in the National Accounting Olympiad in 2018.

He plans to pursue an actuarial sciences degree at UCT in 2020.

Inspired by Elon Musk’s unwillingness to conform, Murphy's wish was for people to be more helpful because this would improve the lives of all South Africans, said the department.

He was also inspired by the quote from the Japanese anime show Gurren Lagann: “We evolve, beyond the person that we were a minute before. Little by little, we advance with each turn.”



Ivan Badenhorst from Outeniqua Hoerskool, also in the Western Cape, was the second highest achiever in mathematics. He plans to study engineering in Belgium in 2020.

His greatest challenge during his school career was dealing with his brother having to undergo surgery to remove a brain tumour.

Badenhorst's advice for the grade 12s of 2020 is to start working from day one. His wish for the people of South Africa “is that we all work together toward a common goal, rather than working against each other”.

In third place was Mukona Martin Ranzida from Mbilwi Secondary School in Limpopo.

“Learning to manage a heavy workload in order to extract the best possible schooling experience was an essential skill Mukona had to develop,” said the department.

His science teacher proved to be a source of inspiration,  encouraging him to develop an interest in maths and physical science. Motivated by the work and words of Albert Einstein, Mukona will study mathematical sciences in 2020.

His wish is to see unemployment and poverty eradicated in South Africa.

“Give it your all when studying and when writing your final exams," he told the class of 2020. "Aim high and remain focussed.”

- Staff Reporter


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