Nomfundo Mthembu, a standout matric top achiever from Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal, not only navigated the challenges of academic rigor but also faced baseless accusations from her peers. Despite the unfounded rumors, Nomfundo’s unwavering commitment and sacrifices propelled her to remarkable achievements.
In a bold move to enhance her educational journey, Nomfundo decided to rent a back room closer to Nkosi Ntulakabayise High School, recognizing the value of time in her studies. Her daily routine showcased her dedication, starting school at 6:30 AM and concluding at 14:30, followed by a brief period of rest and nourishment, and then immersing herself in her books for an uninterrupted four-hour study session.
Nomfundo’s commitment bore fruit when she received the surprising news that she was among the top 30 National Senior Certificate achievers in the country, an extraordinary feat given the extensive pool of over 800,000 learners who participated in the matric exams.
Despite her impressive achievements, Nomfundo faced adversity in the form of hurtful rumors. Peers at her school accused her of using muthi (traditional medicine) and witchcraft to attain her stellar grades. These baseless comments were disheartening for Nomfundo, who had sacrificed sleep and endured sleepless nights in pursuit of her academic goals.
Speaking to Zimoja, Nomfundo expressed her astonishment, stating, “I still can’t believe it, but I know and am confident that I am deserving because I put in the work and took responsibility for my own life.”
Despite the challenges, Nomfundo found unwavering support from her mother and uncle, who encouraged her to ignore the noise and stay focused on her future. Nomfundo’s determination and resilience not only made her a top achiever but also a role model for overcoming obstacles.
Looking ahead, Nomfundo aspires to pursue a career in medicine and has taken a step toward that goal by applying to the University of Cape Town. Her story stands as a testament to the transformative power of hard work, perseverance, and a strong support system in the face of challenges.