The son of a domestic worker, Anelisa Sidlayiya, lives in a shack in a Philippi informal settlement, but the Masivuke High School pupil has a shot at a better life after acing his matric exams.
Anelisa earned a bachelor’s pass with four distinctions and two Bs.
He stays with his mom, Nombulelo, his sister, Olona, and brother, Siphelele, in a three-roomed shack in crime-ridden Kosovo.
Apart from the crime, the blaring music and other noise in the neighbourhood do not make it easy to study, so as the year-end exams loomed, Ms Sidlayiya took the unusual step of renting her three children a house in Samora Machel where they could prepare for their exams in peace.
The decision to create the study sanctuary paid off: not only did Anelisa excel, but Olona, who also wrote matric this year, and Siphelele, who did Grade 9, both got good results.
Anelisa now dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer. He has been accepted at the University of Johannesburg and plans to apply for a bursary.
Speaking to Vukani on Friday January 5, the day Western Cape matrics got their results, he said he had been holding thumbs he would pass his exams.
“Wow, I made it. I had some doubts, butI knew that I have potential. No one wanted this more than me. I am really happy with the results,” he said.
He praised his hard-working mother and said it was because of her he had done well.
“She is a brave single mother. My mother works as domestic worker, but she always provide for the three of us. I do not know how to thank her.”
A jubilant Siphelele congratulated his elder brother but told him he planned to do even better when he wrote his matric.
An excited Ms Sidlayiya said she was proud of her children, but added that it had not been easy to help them achieve their best.
“It is a sigh of relief for me and them. I am a single mother and I have an obligation to look after my children.
“Towards the examinations, I had to rent a place away from Kosovo only for them to study. There is always blaring music in the area. Remember that it is an informal settlement.
“I am over the moon that they have passed. I wish I did not go to work so that I could be with them,” she said in a phone interview.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the national matric pass rate of 75.1% on Thursday January 4, although matrics in the Western Cape only got their results a day later.
The Western Cape came third, with a pass rate of 82.8%, down by 3% from 2016 and behind Free State with 86% and Gauteng with 85%.
Jessica Shelver, the spokeswoman for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, congratulated the 2017 matrics.
“We are especially pleased that the Western Cape has again achieved the highest percentage of bachelor’s passes in the country, with 39.1% of pupils achieving this quality pass,” she said.
Ms Shelver said the Western Cape achieved the highest proportion of mathematics passes, bachelor’s passes and distinctions, as well as, the highest throughput rate.
“The Free State, by contrast, had the fifth highest throughput rate in the country,” she said.