Class of 2017 beat the odds to reach matric

Phiwe Ndinisa inspired the pupils with his rousing address.

Not only was the Silikamva High School Class of 2017 the first to go through from Grade 8 to 12, with the school only opening its doors in 2013, but such were the heartaches and disruptions experienced this year, that the mere prospect of pupils reaching this defining moment might have seemed a long way off a few months ago.

From the March fire in Imizamo Yethu to losing a close friend, Siyamthanda Betana, who was caught in the cross-fire of violent clashes (“The price of tragedy”, Sentinel, August 4), the 85 Silikamva matrics have succeeded against all odds, exhibiting strength of character to push on and bring the curtain down on their school careers.

The service, held at the Kronendal Primary hall on Monday October 16, was attended by teachers and parents, and was just cause for celebration.

“In you we have the future of our country,” said deputy principal Dianne Morgan.

“I see you as leaders with integrity. You may not see yourselves there, but I see you there. You are part of what I see for the future.”

Keynote speaker PhiweNdinisa, anaccomplished researcher at the Land andAccountability Research Centre at UCT, delivered an inspirational address to the matrics, urging them to always remember they were part of Silikamva’s foundation.

Mr Ndinisa hoped the matrics would heed three lessons he had learnt himself. “Always be nice to be people, because people will always remember how you make them feel. Secondly, particularly with the rise of social media, we don’t always listen to understand. Now people listen to give an answer. I urge you to take the time to understand. We think we know a lot, but there is so much more we don’t know.

“The third takes the form of a quote by an educator (Stephen R Covey). ‘The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.’ No matter what you do in life, always remember what the main thing is to you. Also always remember the people who got you to this point, because to them, you were the main thing.”

Silikamva principal Angus Duffett said while a valedictory represented a goodbye to a certain youth, and the safety and security that came with that, it was also a celebration of years of hard work.