The Manenberg Community Police Forum (CPF) hosted an awards ceremony on Saturday for the area’s top 21 matriculants.
Three pupils each from The Leadership College, Manenberg High School, Phoenix Secondary School, Darul Islam Islamic High School, Cathkin Secondary School, Silverstream Secondary School and Heideveld High School were taken on a bus tour through the precinct to celebrate their achievement.
Their principals and some of the current Grade 12 pupils of those schools also attended the ceremony at Phoenix Secondary School.
Community activist Hanif Loonat thanked the CPF for the initiative, saying children from gang-ridden areas are often overlooked.
“We must stop looking down on people from these areas. They have worked so hard and performed so well. I also want to thank all our sponsors and parents and media as well,” he said.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said it was a good idea to focus on the positive aspects of Manenberg rather than just the negative.
“As leaders we will assist you where we can. You must go to study, and we will help you, we owe that to you and you owe that to yourself and your families,” he said.
He encouraged pupils to work hard and attain a certificate, diploma, or degree.
“Do not waste your time at home for a year. Your first goal was matric now it’s tertiary education,” he said.
Manenberg police station’s acting Station Commander Colonel Sanglo Eugene Zama, said: “No matter in what corner you are, God sees you and you will shine no matter where you are. Through education you can (take yourself out of) poverty,” he said.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services JP Smith, advised the pupils to work hard so that they may chose to attend a tertiary institution of their choice.
“Stay away from drugs, gangsterism, and teenage pregnancy because that is game over. Far too often bad people parade down the streets, today you are being paraded down the streets,” he said.
He said if pupils feel that more can be done to help them at school they should address the issue.
“If you see a gap somewhere in the system come and tell us where we can do better. Perhaps we need more after-school programmes to keep children busy with positive activities after school,” he said.
One ex-pupil from each school had an opportunity to address the current matriculants.
Kauthar Fortune from The Leadership College said during the year there will be a few challenges such as gangsterism which will make it difficult to attend extra classes at school but she encouraged pupils to remain positive.
“With poverty it is also difficult to access more information through the internet and your social life will take a break this year. Do not become a victim of your circumstances. Keep your goals in mind and stay focused and believe in yourself,” she said.
She said when studying pupils should take breaks and plan their time wisely.
“Also remember to enjoy yourselves as this is your last year at school. Make time for your hobbies and always maintain your relationship with your Creator, always have faith,” she said.
Reagan Lakay from Cathkin High School said although gangsterism and poverty made it so much harder to attain his matric certificate, he worked hard and persevered and he encouraged this year’s Grade 12 pupils to do the same.