Valedictorian and top achiever for the Eldorado Park district, Kamogelo Mgijima, aced her 2023 National Senior Certificate results with six distinctions.
The 18-year-old attended Eldorado Park Secondary School, near Soweto, in Johannesburg. She calmly said this is not about being the top student, but rather about doing your best and ignoring what others say about you.
“It is about analysing yourself, seeing your potential, and overcoming what you’re challenged by. It is all about progress; if not progress, then consistency.”
Mgijima shared that attending UJ secondary school intervention programme classes every Saturday since March has helped her.
“It all began in primary school. I went to St Ives and I believe that a solid foundation is important. It starts at home, with the smallest things like how to hold a pen,” she said.
“Thank you to my primary school teachers, who built a solid foundation for me. And my high school teachers, who motivated me to hold on.”
Mgijima shared that preparations for the March and June examinations were challenging for her.
She said: “I got a 78, which was the first time I got a level six for that subject, and it stressed me out. In June, while practicing for my math exam, I was panicking.
“My gratitude goes to my family for being so supportive. I called my mom to support me while I panicked with my math preparations, and she encouraged me to calm down. In those times of panic, my mother was hands-on and supportive.
Surprisingly, Mgijima said that loadshedding was not a major challenge for her.
“I cannot entirely blame loadshedding for the challenges that I faced. It is all about determination to do all that you can, using the resources that you have.
“I highly recommend that students go manual if the digital way is failing them. I used my textbooks from school and past papers that I printed.”
Mgijima told Sunday World that she was accepted at university to study for a Bsc in biology sciences. She crossed her fingers, saying: “I hope that all goes well.”
“One of my biggest fears is disappointing myself, going from hero to zero. I am very anxious about progress. But keeping track of how you move is important, as is closing the gaps in the process.
“At the moment, I am working on getting scholarships and sponsorships for my studies,” she said.
Message to Class of 2024
“To the 2024 students, I am not saying you should be the top achiever or the greatest. Be the greatest that you can be. Do not compare yourself to others. Make sure to track your progress; if not consistency, then progress.”
Mgijima took her final walk in the school yard on Tuesday.
Sunday World engaged with a few people who contributed to her great success.
Her mother, Nomtshato Mgijima, 46, is a single mother of three girls. Kamogelo is her first.
Proud mother, teachers
She told Sunday World that despite the social ills, her daughter has finished off strong.
“I am proud of my daughter. To be the mother of a top achiever, I stood firm to support her every step of the way. She would cry because she missed her goal by three marks at times.
“I would always encourage her to be proactive in her learning. My heart is filled with gratitude for her primary and high school teachers.
“I am worried about finances for her studies. We are still running from pillar to post, even after she has been accepted to study.”
Her grade 12 life science teacher, Romeo Carpede, described her as a self-driven, curious, and diligent student.
“She passed life science with distinction, despite the limited resources that she had to work with. This result comes from what she has inside; her personal traits have led her to this end result,” he said.
The school governing body representative, Douglas Swarts, wished her well in her new endeavours. He stated how proud they were of her.
The school head was overjoyed
A very proud principal, Mr Palmer, said: “Academically, these results will go a long way in motivating teachers, learners, and the department in the support that they give to the school. She has proven that we are not only focused on quantity passes but also quality passes.
“In June, her pure math paper, where she achieved 100%, was used as a memorandum —after the maths facilitator saw it. Her approach to getting the final answers was considered a resource.”
He joked that she is too quiet, stating that she has great leadership qualities. He added that she always helped others without looking down on those who were struggling.