Letter penned by unsuccessful Rustenburg matriculant goes viral

'To those who are like me, let's not give up, we still have a chance in life, we can make it guys,' said the youngster.
'To those who are like me, let's not give up, we still have a chance in life, we can make it guys,' said the youngster.
Image: 123RF/Julija Sapic

A letter penned by a matric pupil who did not pass his 2019 final exams has gone viral on social media.

The note by the Rustenburg pupil was posted on Facebook by his mother. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who expected a pass from me regarding my matric results,” said the young man. 

TimesLIVE is not naming him to protect his identity. 



“To my mom and my dad ...  I'm so sorry for disappointing you in my last lap of my high school career and I would like to thank you for everything y'all have done for me to reach where I am now,” part of his letter read.

“I'm making a pledge to everyone who believes in me that I'm not ignoring this failure. I've filled my rewriting form for me to write the subjects I've failed. It is ready to go! I promise to do my best in June and I'm GOING TO PASS this time around, trust me,” he said.

The youngster congratulated those who had passed and encouraged others who did not succeed.

“To those who are like me, let's not give up, we still have a chance in life, we can make it guys.

“Have faith. Together we can! God bless all.”

Prof Kobus Maree, from the department of educational psychology at the University of Pretoria (UP), offered advice to parents of children who did not pass the exams:

  • Reassure your children and communicate openly. Talk to them or text them. Offer them emotional support. Ask them how they feel. Carefully note their body language.
  • Let them know there is a support structure in place; that you regard them as precious and that you love them unconditionally.
  • Remind your child that this has been just one exam, one transition, and give them hope. Many people fail their grade 12 exams, but go on to be extremely successful in later life.
  • Talking negatively and blaming them serve no purpose. Be positive and inspiring.
  • If your child acts out and makes you feel miserable, this should be considered “normal” under the circumstances. Do not blame yourself. What has happened does not make you a bad person or a failure.
  • Seek the help of an educational or counselling psychologist if you fear your child is suicidal. Be concerned if he or she stops talking, cuts himself or herself off from family and friends or seems depressed. Suicide in South Africa is on the increase as pupils could believe that they have “failed” or have let others and themselves down. Phone the SA Depression and Anxiety Group, Life Line or one of the suicide hotlines.

The matric results were officially released on Wednesday. 

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said 81.3% of the class of 2019 had passed. 

A total of 790,405 candidates wrote the exams at 7,416 examination centres across the country in October and November. The department also conducted examinations for 212 pupils at correctional facilities.


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