Pretoria: The dream of a Flora Park Comprehensive School matriculant to write his final National Senior Certificate exams was realised today.
On Monday, Remember Mashabela, who was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2004, was one of the 120 352 part time candidates who wrote their first English paper. Because of his illness he was unable to complete writing his exams in 2010 and 2011.
The 19-year-old, who is currently writing a book entitled “Happiness is a Choice”, was flown into the Pretoria East Hospital on Thursday last week where he is receiving medical attention. Determined to write his final examination, he had decided to write to the Department of Basic Education requesting permission to do so in hospital.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, who visited Mashabela an hour before he sat for his English paper, said she was encouraged by the learner’s commitment
“I was touched by his letter to the department. This says to me that Mashabela is prepared adequately, like all other matriculants, for this important phase in his life. Some of us complain about the little things in life and it’s moments like this that make one realise that education is one of the most important assets in life,” Motshekga said.
She said officials from the department had visited the hospital to ensure that all security measures had been adhered to and that the environment would be conducive for him to sit for his final exams.
He will be writing English, Maths, Physical Science, Afrikaans and Life Science.
The minister wished Mashabela good luck and good health as she handed over his question paper.
Mashabela thanked the department for granting him permission to write at the hospital because he did not want to miss the examination. “I’m happy that the minister has come to the hospital to wish me well. I did not expect it and I appreciate that she has given me her time,” he said.
Mashabela’s aunt, Ditlomo Mashabela said Remember was very confident. “Psychologically, he is prepared for the exams but also nervous because you never know what might happen tomorrow. We are happy he is going to realise his dream of writing his matric exams. The department has outdone itself with this one,” she said.
Mashabela will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant, donated by his aunt’s younger brother.
Clinical Haematologist, Dr Andrew McDonald said Mashabela was expected to spend a month in hospital as the transplant was an intensive procedure involving chemotherapy. “Medically, he is fit to write the exams and we didn’t want to get in the way, unless we see that his condition is not good, then we can intervene,” Dr MacDonald told SAnews.
Motshekga’s visit marked the start of the 2012 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. She wished all learners the best in their efforts and reminded them to first read quickly through the entire paper.
“This may help you choose the easy questions. Do them first and then tackle the more difficult ones later.” The minister said the department would pay urgent attention to the Eastern Cape to ensure the exams continue smoothly following a storm during the weekend.
“We are waiting for a report on the Eastern Cape as we are anticipating challenges due to the storms, we’ve spoken with the SAPS and Defence to be on standby to assist us, at the moment we are not sure how many schools have been affected,” Motshekga said. A total of 527 335 full time learners and 120 352 part time candidates have registered to write the exams, which started on Monday and will end on 28 November.