SA's brightest matric of 2019 pays tribute to her hard-working farmer dad

SA's top matriculant from the class of 2019, Madelein Dippenaar, at Paarl Gimnasium High School with Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schafer on January 8 2020.
SA's top matriculant from the class of 2019, Madelein Dippenaar, at Paarl Gimnasium High School with Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schafer on January 8 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

South Africa's top 2019 matric student says watching her father work hard on his  vineyards in the Northern Cape motivated her.

Madelein Dippenaar, 18, will enrol for a BSc in molecular biology at Stellenbosch University.

The Paarl Gimnasium student said her father Alwyn Dippenaar is her role model. "He has got an amazing way of working with people. He is patient and I admire his patience so much, and his dedication," she said.

"He works very long hours to provide for us and he taught me that hard work is the key to success."

Dippenaar said her father was in Midrand on Tuesday to hear her named as the brightest matric student of last year.

"My father might have cried, I am not sure. I was on stage and there were many people, I couldn't see them [my parents]. But they were extremely proud. My father got phone calls from all over to congratulate him on my success," she said.

Madelein Dippenaar (third from right) celebrates on Wednesday with her Paarl Gimnasium friends (from left): Mari de Lange, Elmarie Bason, Lehani Skein, Jani de Lange and Nola de Jongh.
Madelein Dippenaar (third from right) celebrates on Wednesday with her Paarl Gimnasium friends (from left): Mari de Lange, Elmarie Bason, Lehani Skein, Jani de Lange and Nola de Jongh.
Image: Esa Alexander

Dippenaar said the fact that she is from a small town in the Northern Cape did not deter her. "I am originally from the Northern Cape. My parents are table-grape farmers near the Orange River, in the corner of Northern Cape. It's about 900km from Paarl."



She said she worked hard during the year, so the final exams were like revision to her. "I didn't find the final exams as hard as the September exams," she said.

The announcement that she was the country's top student took her by surprise. "I was ecstatic to say the least. I was very happy and quite shocked as well."

She added that hobbies such as ballroom dancing and art helped her cope with the pressure of studying.

"Find a hobby, any kind of hobby, just to open up your mind and take your mind off reality just for a minute," she advised. "That's how I dealt with my pressure."


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