Mdantsane’s Mbalentle Xongo, a Grade7 pupil at Grens Laerskool, has been invited to the Radikale Redenaars Nasionale, an Afrikaans public speaking competition in Gauteng.
Her debating teacher, Donnette Gericke, said she was highly impressed with Xongo’s efficiency and fluency in Afrikaans.
“She has excelled in Afrikaans through and through and is the only pupil who is taking on English and Afrikaans as home languages, when in fact Afrikaans is a third language to her – yet she is competing on the highest level.”
Gericke described Xongo as a passionate and dedicated pupil who is loved by her peers and teachers for her charisma and hard work.
“She will also be reading poems at the old age homes that we will be hosting on Thursday.”
Gericke said Xongo participated in the same competition in 2015 and came third in the second language category.
Xongo’s mother Zuko, an unemployed mother of three, said she was very proud of her daughter, who she said was a very hard worker.
“I was heartsore when I learnt from her friends that she didn’t apply to be part of the competition last year, and her friends were asking me why.
“I asked her why she didn’t enter and she said it was because she knew I was no longer employed and didn’t want to burden me with the expenses of going to nationals.
“I discouraged her from worrying about me and my situation, but told her to focus on who she is and all her capabilities,” she said.
Education spokesman Malibongwe Mtima said it was a proud moment for the department as someone from this province would be competing at such a high level.
“This is a remarkable achievement and the department will follow up so as to establish how the pupil can be assisted to attend the nationals under her family’s difficult circumstances,” he said. — firstname.lastname@example.org