Slice of life: Consistency pays off

 

 

I’m going to Stellenbosch University to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology and biotechnology. I want to learn about microorganisms.

I grew up on a farm in Augrabies, in the Northern Cape, where my parents are table grape farmers.

I am the middle child of three sisters and I lived there most of my life, but then I went to Paarl —to Paarl Gimnasium High School —to study.

On top of my main seven subjects, I added German second additional language and visual arts. I got nine distinctions out of nine subjects I wrote.

My winning trick has been excelling since I was in grade 8, and [achieving] consistency throughout the years. I don’t believe there was any recipe to passing my matric. I would advise matriculants to start working hard from the beginning of the year: that’s the only way to win.


In 2018 I was one of two South African pupils who were selected to go to the United States space agency. While there, I got an opportunity to interact with other people who are passionate about science. The experience taught me so much about research.

I was so shocked when I received the news that I am the top achiever in the country. I was not expecting it in any way.

My parents will be paying for my tuition fees in the meantime. I have not received any offers and I didn’t apply for any bursaries. — Madelein Dippenaar, 18, as told to Chris Gilili

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Chris Gilili
Chris Gilili is an Open Society Fellow in Investigative Reporting at Wits University. Currently spending six months with the Mail and Guardian in the Investigations desk. He started journalism with Independent Media’s vernacular publication, I’solezwe LesiXhosa in East London. He has freelanced for publications such as GroundUp and Workers World Media.

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