Sinenjongo High School's matrics beats the odds of 2020
Photo Cred: Sinenjongo High School

These Matriculants went through the pandemic, subsequent lockdown, lack of money, food and basic resources and then even their school being vandalised… but they came out on top!


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Western Cape, South Africa (23 February 2021) – To say that being a matric learner during 2020 was challenging is a severe understatement! Words like lockdown, social distancing and pandemic did not exist in their vocabulary when they commenced their last year at high school in January 2020.

Not only was the year characterised by turbulence due to Covid-19, but it was also overshadowed by leaked exam papers and uncertainty in terms of exam timelines, protocols and procedures.

Lockdown and its subsequent devastating effects on the economy and unemployment reached deep into the community of Joe Slovo, directly affecting the lives of the pupils at Sinenjongo High School, the township’s only high school. The school’s children and their families were assisted by the Century City Feed-A-Family initiative, which provided temporary relief of food hampers sufficient to feed a family of four for a month.

In addition to food scarcity and significant job losses of parents, the school received a tremendous blow when the hall and its contents of desks and chairs were consumed by flames amid protests on the morning of 22 July.  Completed a mere four years ago, the destruction of a much-needed school facility by vandals added an additional layer of despair to an already demanding year.

Sinenjongo High School's matrics beats the odds of 2020
Residents seeking to occupy vacant land along Freedom Way in Joe Slovo, Cape Town, are accused of petrol bombing Sinenjongo High School | Photo: Peter Luhanga

The 2020 Sinenjongo High School matrics were subjected to pressures from all side but nonetheless improved on the 2019 results by 10% by achieving an 88% pass rate. Outperforming the national and provincial averages under these conditions is no small feat and a testament to the dedication of the learners, teachers, and principal, Mrs Nopote.

15% more learners than in 2019 successfully completed matric. Bachelors’ passes make up 50% of the 168 who received a certificate, increasing by 3% from 2019. Diploma passes increased by 1% and makeup 30% of the total.

“We are extremely happy that we’ve had such a good result amidst trying circumstances and are very proud of our learners!” says Mrs Nopote, Headmistress. “It is heartwarming to learn that our pass rate has improved with so much. The matrics and teachers all made a huge effort – we hosted online classes every Saturday, as well as additional classes in the afternoons. We also offered team learning, which is where we draw from the expertise across the staff complement, whether they are Grade 12 teachers or not.  Through this method, the strengths of all the teachers were combined to produce the best learning experience for our learners.”

Exuberant and enthusiastic, relieved that 2020 is finally over, the matrics received their certificates on 23 February 2021.  The top learners with three distinctions each were Khuselo Ntso, Somila Mangcayi, Uviwe Kitshini and Xoliswa Magcaki.

Siphelo Dube, recipient of the Maggie Rowley Sinenjongo Assistance Fund (MRSAF) says, “I am a bit disappointed in my Mathematics results, as our group of friends were all aiming for distinctions. Overall, I am satisfied that my aggregate is still good at 74% and that I achieved a Bachelors’ pass.”

Siphelo has been provincially accepted for Mechanical Engineering at Stellenbosch University and will be supported by the MRSAF until he completes his degree. The matrics of Sinenjongo High School finally left the school premises with certificates in hand and heads full of plans for the next chapter of their young lives.

The Maggie Rowley Sinenjongo Assistance Fund (MRSAF)

Rabie formed the Marconi Beam Schools Trust in 2007, which is a registered non-profit organisation.  Through the assistance of donors and philanthropists, as well as contributions by Rabie, the Marconi Beam Schools Trust funds the additional teachers at Sinenjongo High School.  It is through this Trust that the Maggie Rowley Sinenjongo Assistance Fund is funded.

Philanthropists and donors are welcome to contribute towards the Maggie Rowley Sinenjongo Assistance Fund, and a Section 18A certificate will be issued. For further information, kindly contact us via

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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