One can describe 2021 as the relative calm after the chaos. While there is no doubt that last year had its flaws and special challenges, compared to its evil twin 2020, it was definitely more manageable for most.
While the education sector was better prepared in 2021, the year was still particularly challenging for the matric class of 2021. But just like the many tens of thousands of matriculants before them, in the weeks ahead they are going to have to make some important decisions about their futures.
Fortunately, there are many who have already successfully walked this path, and can now provide some welcome guidance and advice.
Thabo Sekhoacha is a former Clairwood Secondary School pupil from Chesterville, who flew his school’s flag high when he passed his matric remarkably well in 2015. The 24-year-old obtained a Bachelor’s pass with distinctions in accounting, maths and isiZulu, and is now a qualified state accountant at the KZN Provincial Treasury.
He encourages the matric class of 2021 to see past the difficulties and never give up.
Avoid peer pressure at all costs. Do away with “my friend is going to study engineering or accounting”. Life is different and we all have our own paths. Life is not a 200-metre race, but a marathon and our destinies are not the same. Don’t compare yourself to the next person, stay in your lane.
If you need to upgrade when you get your matric results, then go and upgrade. It’s heartbreaking and a waste of time studying something you don’t like just because you don’t want to sit at home. The degree you choose to study is what you are going to be doing for the next 38 years of your life, now imagine what a miserable life you will have.
When you get to tertiary to study your chosen course, go there to sharpen your mind and gain more knowledge and experience. Obtain skills that will make you a credible employee and enable you to become your own boss after the next 10 years.
Sekhoacha is content with the results he obtained in his matric year because he believes he gave it his all and his results were only fair. However, he does wish that he had more information about bursaries during matric.
After completing high school, Sekhoacha enrolled at the University of KwaZulu-Natal to study towards his BCom accounting degree. He bagged a bursary from the Motsepe Foundation, which paid for his first year, and wasfunded by the KZN Provincial Treasury for the remainder of his tertiary years. He graduated in 2019.
“I am very happy with how far I have come in life, looking at my age and also considering the fact that I am already working as a qualified accountant.”
With South Africa facing the Covid-19 pandemic, Sekhoacha says he considers himself to be “really blessed” to have had the experience of working remotely, and not having to spend on transport was a bonus.
“The pandemic has affected us all. Nevertheless, I thank God that I am still employed when many people have lost their jobs."
Sekhoacha says the high unemployment rate in South Africa breaks his heart.
“You get graduates who sit at home with their degrees for almost five years, yet we know the challenges they had to overcome in order to obtain those degrees.”
Sekhoacha adds that he is grateful, but having a job while his peers go through such a hard time leaves a sour taste in his mouth.
He says Covid-19 “has shown us that we shouldn’t depend on our permanent jobs. As a graduate, you should always have an open mind and start thinking and seeing yourself as an employer.
“Overall, I wish the class of 2021 the very best with their future endeavours.”