Twenty-one matriculants from Manenberg were treated to a day of celebration last Saturday, when the Manenberg Community Police Forum rewarded them for achieving top results in their National Senior Certificate 2016 exams.
The Manenberg Community Police Forum (CPF), together with the Manenberg SAPS, identified the need to celebrate the success of these matriculants in the area considering all the social challenges that they are faced with daily.
The CPF invited the top-three achievers from each of the seven high schools in the area to the celebration.
The day began with a tour bus parade, which started at Manenberg police station and moved through the area into Heideveld, Welcome Estate, Surrey Estate, Primrose Park and then to Phoenix High School.
At the school hall, each pupil was given the opportunity to speak about how they managed to achieve high marks. They also gave advice to this year’s Grade 12 class.
Tasneem Isaacs, 19, from Darul Islam High School in Greenhaven, earned eight distinctions in her matric exam. Her advice to the class of 2017 was to work hard and focus on themselves.
“Don’t let the environment influence you. Everyone knows what they want in life, so don’t allow anybody to tell you any different. Believe in yourself, because that is the most important thing,” she said.
She said the parents of Grade 12s should be patient with them and excuse them from domestic chores and social events to allow sufficient study time.
Dan Plato, MEC for Community Safety, said he was proud of the group because they had withstood social ills and proven themselves.
“When you read the papers, it’s about drugs and crime, and despite bullets, issues, and circumstances, you have shown them what you can do. We can overcome the difficulties. Show the gangsters they are wrong and that there is much more to Manenberg than drugs and gangsters,” said Mr Plato.
He said Manenberg needed to overcome the scourge of drugs, poverty, and gangsterism. He applauded the teachers and principals for putting in so much effort and thanked the police for their support as well.
Mr Plato also thanked the pastors, religious leaders, community police forums, and neighbourhood watches for playing a role in the development of the area.
“Growing up, there was poverty as well, but we never allowed it to hold us back. Pass matric and go to university, that’s what we expect of you,” he said.
Sheikh Irfaan Abrahams, president of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), said that the matriculants are so fortunate to be able to go to school and get an education.
“There was a time when I would walk from Surrey Estate barefoot to Heideveld Primary School because my mother couldn’t afford school shoes. I went to school with dry bread and ate it in a corner because I was shy – my bread was wrapped in newspaper. That didn’t make me feel sorry for myself or pity myself, it made me hard working,” said Mr Abrahams.
He said that the MJC will continue to work with the police to eradicate drug merchants and gangsterism.
“If past matrics could achieve what they have, there is no reason to not achieve the same. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, look for a reason to strive. Always say I can, put in extra effort, and attend all the extra classes that you can,” he said.