Botshabelo matriculant reaches for the stars

Emmanuel Mofammere from Lenyora la Thuto in Botshabelo is well on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a astrophysicist PHOTO: SEITHATI SEMENOKANE

Emmanuel Mofammere from Lenyora la Thuto Comprehensive School in Botshabelo is one of the 25 recipients of the first ever Siyandisa Foundation Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to the Top 25 performing matriculants in the province who attend non-paying schools and have an academic average of 85% or higher across their Grade 11 subjects. The scholarship programme provides study as well as personal support to the learners – the only scholarship programme to do so in the country. Although the 25 leaners were all impressive, Mofammere stood out from the group because of the camping project he had initiated at his school. He said the school’s results last year were not good, and this prompted him to start this project. “I thought if we work as a team we could produce massive results. I can identify and help you with your weaknesses and you could do the same for me. And that way we can help each other to get to the level we want to be. So I thought if we work and sleep at school we won’t be bothered by the distractions we have at home,” said Mofammere. Their school does not have a hostel, but this did not stop him from coming up with a plan. Principal, Talla Modupe, said they realised that other leaners are struggling, especially those who aren’t top leaners like Mofammere, and that is when they realised it was a good initiative and supported the Grade 12 learners. “Sometimes they don’t have enough time at home to study and sometimes they are dealing with issues such as poverty. We let them study until as late as 10 pm in the evenings so that they are ready for school the next day, and in the afternoons they study and complete their homework. This way we can monitor them. We also give them a warm meal. “We have a great group of committed teachers who are available to stay with them, monitor them and help them out during the evenings. They also cook for them, it’s a lot of hard work and dedication,” said Modupe. Mofammere added that he started working hard for his top marks in Grade 8. While growing up he attended different astronomy competitions and astronomical quizzes, which sparked his interest in the field. “Very few people do it and it is viewed as a difficult subject. Not a lot of people consider it as a career. That is why I was interested in it. I want to experience that hardship that people are always talking about regarding astrophysics,” he said excitedly. With an average academic mark of 90%, Mofammere is sure to reach his goal. “I want to find myself in a position where I could grow in the field of astrophysics – to a point where we can operate and compete globally with other countries that have bigger programmes.”