- A matriculant from the Eastern Cape will attend Rhodes University after passing with distinction
- He walked an hour to school each day, to attend his classes in East London and scored 94% for science and 85% for maths
- He dreams of working in a laboratory one day, once he has his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree
Every day Lutho Jimana walked an hour from his home in Gqala, East London, to his classes at Tsholomnqa High School, never losing sight of his lifelong vision of wearing a white coat working in a laboratory.
The Eastern Cape matriculant faced the long daily walk to school, his overcrowded home where it was difficult to study, and financial constraints due to his mother’s unemployment.
He was adamant that none of those obstacles would get in the way of studying towards his childhood dream job, and this month Lutho began his studies towards a Bachelor of Pharmacy at Rhodes University.
Lutho beat out nearly 100 fellow matrics at the end of 2017 to take the top spot in the Eastern Cape in the Engen Maths and Science Schools (EMSS) programme.
Briefly.co.za learned Lutho scored 94% for science and 85% for maths, and credits the extra lessons provided by EMSS for his outstanding results.
Lutho has a four-year journey to achieve his degree and said he will tackle the challenges ahead, the same way he achieved such incredible success at school.
“It’s all about hard work, managing your time and your priorities,” said the 18-year-old proudly, declaring that he doesn't drink or smoke, and attends church every Sunday.
Lutho is adamant that he achieved academic excellence due to the commitment of the Engen programme teachers, who gave him the support he so desperately needed from Grade 10 to Matric.
“I went to the classes every week and they taught me so much, especially the parts of the syllabus that my teachers at school never taught me. I realised I was missing out on so many things, and I don’t think I would ever have done so well if it wasn’t for the Engen teachers who filled in all the gaps,” Lutho said.
Lutho said his principal, Uncle Sonwabo Jimana, helped motivate him through all the difficult times, acting as a great role model and helping him apply for his place at university.
EMSS programme aims to assist students with a view to not only see them achieve personal success, but also to tackle the bigger issue of helping address key national skills shortages in engineering, medical and other technical fields.
Adhila Hamdulay, Engen’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, said the company is delighted to see Lutho get the chance to pursue his bid to become a scientist.
“We are so incredibly proud to see him and all these learners, who epitomise the quality of the young people we work with around the country every year, do so well. Our ultimate reward is to help set them up to pursue stimulating careers that will change their lives, but also benefit the economy as a whole,” Hamdulay said.
The EMSS schools across South Africa run classes in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. They provide a high-quality learning experience, including teaching and educational materials, for learners from Grade 10 to 12.
For Lutho, it is literally a dream come true.
“Ever since I was in primary school I loved physics and imagined myself working in a laboratory. I’ve never lost sight of my goal,” he said.
Hamdulay said it was extremely gratifying to hear such positive feedback from Lutho.
“We strongly believe that we have a responsibility to help young people realise their full potential, and we feel enormously privileged to have played a role in his impressive achievements,” she added.
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