Meet some of the top matrics for 2018

Out of more than 800 000 pupils who sat for the national senior certificate exams, 29 have been selected as the top matric pupils for 2018.

The Mail & Guardian spoke to some of the country’s top matriculants to learn how they prepared for the life-changing exam and what their plans for the future are.

The pupils all expressed being surprised by the invitation to attend the ministerial breakfast at Vodaworld in Midrand, saying they are excited to learn how they did when the results are announced at a dinner this evening.

Nqobile Nzimande (16) said her achievement is the result of consistent hard work. “I made sure that I handed everything in on time. I had extra lessons, I didn’t study all the time. I made sure that I had time to chill out with friends to do some exercise. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t buckle under pressure. I may have been writing matric, but I wanted to still live my life.”

Nqobile Nzimande (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)


Nzimande matriculated from St John Paul High in KwaZulu-Natal which she described as a “very rural school” with excellent teachers. Nzimande has been provisionally accepted to study actuarial sciences at the University of Cape Town.

Rohan Crafford is working towards becoming an academic with the aim to work as a lecturer.

Crafford sat for Life Sciences, Afrikaans home language, English first additional, business studies, computer applications technology and Maths literacy exams, and laughed when he said that writing the English first additional language paper “was something he would lament about later”. A matriculant from Prinshof School for Partially Sighted & Blind in Pretoria, Crafford said his school was exceptionally supportive in his studies.

Rohan Crafford (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

He has been provisionally accepted to the University of Pretoria to study the English language, Latin and German.

Justine Crook-Mansour from Rustenburg Girls High School said she did not expect to be called to the breakfast of top achievers on Thursday, but the aspiring astrophysicist said she has always loved Physics. “It’s the practical application of everyday life,” she said. She will be heading to the University of Cape Town this year where she will pick between two fields of study: astrophysics and mechatronic engineering.

Justine Crook-Mansour and Maior Ahmed (Gemma Ritchie/M&G)

Crook-Mansour, who spent a day job-shadowing at the multi radio telescope project SKA (Square Kilometre Array) outside of Kimberley in the Northern Cape, hopes to work there one day, saying she is very interested in pursuing a career in research.

Maior Ahmed from Potchefstroom Girls High said her love for Physics, Maths and Life Sciences in school has her pursuing computer electronics at the University of the Witwatersrand. Although she is not set on what she wants to do following the completion of her studies, she does know that she wants to innovate.

Speaking at the breakfast on Thursday morning, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the pupils were the cream of the crop.

“You have proven to be the best and now we are expecting the best from you. We are looking to you to take us into the fourth industrial revolution. You have proven to be very capable and we are looking to you for solutions,” she said in congratulating them.

Motshekga will release the results this evening where she will reveal the national pass rate. The class of 2017 achieved a 75.1% pass rate with Free State topping the provinces. 

Angie Motshekga (Gemma Ritchie/M&G) 
This article has been amended to reflect additional information from the pupils.

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