Teenager Ntokozo Coka burst into tears when Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi told an audience on Friday that he is proud of her. The premier lauded her for being the top pupil in economics in the province during the 2023 matric final exams.
Pleasantly surprised at premier’s honour
While holding back her tears, 18-year-old Coka said she was shocked and in disbelief when Lesufi said she scored 293 marks out of 300. The score was for the 2023 economics matric final exam.
Coka is the top pupil in economics and one of the top pupils in business studies in Gauteng.
She obtained 98% for economics and 100% for business studies.
Coka did her matric at St Martin De Porres High School in Orlando West, Soweto.
Coka did English first additional language, IsiZulu home language, life orientation, mathematics, accounting, economics, and business studies.
She obtained six distinctions
Coka was one of the 2023 Gauteng top matric achievers who were hosted and given awards by the Gauteng education department. The event was held at the Microsoft Offices in Bryanston, Johannesburg on Friday.
The pupils were awarded a certificate, trophy, laptop and cash prizes of different amounts.
Lesufi was joined by Gauteng education department MEC Matome Chiloane during the ceremony.
Dressed in their colourful school uniforms with blazers embellished with badges, Gauteng’s top achievers were seated in the auditorium. They came along with their parents, guardians, school principals and teachers, among others.
Third-best performing province
Gauteng is the third-best performing province for the 2023 matric year after having achieved 85,4%. This is an increase of 1,0% from 2022.
Gauteng’s Johannesburg West District is the leading district at 92,5%, and is also ranked number one nationally.
Coka said she is excited to be one of the top matric achievers in Gauteng.
“When he called my name I was in a state of shock. I feel very happy that I have been honoured as one of the top performers in the province. I got more than I bargained for. Getting a hug from the premier was the highlight of my day. I see him on TV all the time but today I got to see him in person,” said Coka.
Coka was accompanied by her father, Sifiso Hlatshwayo, to the awards ceremony.
Family supported her throughout
She said Hlatshwayo supported her during her matric year.
“My father would give me motivational talk every day. He and my siblings would do the house chores for me so that I can have enough time to study. They were my biggest support system,” said Coka.
Coka said she plans to study economic sciences at the University of Cape Town or the University of Pretoria.
Sponsorship for tertiary studies
Lesufi said his government will fully finance Coka’s tertiary studies until she completes her first degree.
The 2023 national senior certificate overall matric pass rate is 82,9%. This is an improvement of 2,8% compared to the 80,1% achieved in 2022.
In 2021, the matric pass rate was 76,4%. While in 2020 the pass rate stood at 76,2%. In 2019 the pass rate achieved was 81,3%.