Overcoming the passing of his beloved grandmother as well as the general havoc that the Covid-19 pandemic had on the school year may have been a bridge too far for some. Not for Engen Maths and Science School learner, Anganathi Oyamangaye Cushe who pushed the adversities aside to bag four distinctions for matric – including 87% for maths and 90% for science.
Anganathi’s impressive matric marks have secured a coveted place to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town in 2022, which will allow the KwaNobuhle township local to follow his dream of graduating as an engineer and changing the world.
“I hope that everything I have worked for will come true or at least help my family and change the situation at home so that we can live a better life because sometimes we struggle and get by with the grace of God,” says the alumnus of Marymount R.C. Secondary School in Kariega, and the Engen Maths and Science School in Uitenage’s top matric in 2021.
The Engen Maths and Science Schools have run for over 30 years, and offer underprivileged grade 10-12 learners free supplementary Maths, Science and English tuition on Saturdays at nine locations across South Africa.
These include Cape Town (classes are held at Belgravia and Manzombotho High), Gqeberha (Uitenhage), East London, Cala and Johannesburg, and in KwaZulu-Natal where classes are hosted at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Howard College, and Mangosuthu University of Technology.
The 429-strong Engen Maths and Science School matric class of 2021 attained a 77% overall pass rate of which 64% attained bachelor passes.
For Anganathi, a challenge growing up was having to move home frequently because his mother was unemployed, and they could not afford to buy a house.
“That was before she got married but I learnt very early never to worry her about my schoolwork,” he reflects humbly.
“My stepfather is the sole provider for our family, and we were worried when he contracted Covid-19 in September last year.”
But Anganathi is made of stern stuff, and he manged to pull through with the support of this mother,
“Faith keeps me going and I respect my elders equally. I listen to them all, especially my mother because we have been together all my life and she always makes sure that I have everything I need.”
Living by the philosophies that with hard work you can achieve anything, and the sky is the limit if you never stopped dreaming, Anganathi advises the matric class of 2022 to put everything into making a success of the year.
“Hard work pays off. This is the year where you need to give it your all and not give up no matter what.”
Attending Engen Maths and Science School classes every Saturday from grade 10-12 boosted his confidence and provided him with a better understanding of complex topics, says Anganathi.
“EMSS classes are part of the reason why I passed my matric with my distinctions and proves that learners who attend a Engen Maths and Science School will reap the benefits.
“The pandemic forced me to learn a lot of content in a short space of time because of the work we missed in grade 11, but the excellent study materials and additional work allowed me to practice and deepen my understanding.”
Engen’s manager of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, Dr James Nyawera explains that the EMSS programme focuses specifically on providing extra tuition in “gateway” subjects such as mathematics and science; subjects which are considered critical in addressing the country’s technical and engineering skills shortage as well as spurring economic growth and development.
“The EMSS programme seeks to harness the potential of talented young people in difficult circumstances and to also contribute to the pool of scarce skills in the country,” comments Nyawera.
“Starting off 34 years ago as Engen Saturday Schools, EMSS remains central to Engen’s efforts to contribute to the growth and transformation of South Africa,” continues Nyawera, adding that “the programme has worked tirelessly to help transform young underprivileged people’s lives, with a focus of creating a diverse and vibrant workforce.”
Nyawera says Engen is incredibly proud of Anganathi and all the EMSS learners who completed matric in 2021, despite extremely trying circumstances.
“Well done to all for showing true grit and determination! It is Engen’s ultimate reward to help set talented people up to pursue stimulating careers that won’t only benefit them personally, but also their families and the broader economy of South Africa.
“Engen is committed to building tomorrow’s leaders and if we want to ensure that the youth of tomorrow are prepared for a rapidly changing world, we need to ensure that they have the right mix of skills, for them to reach their full potential,” concludes Nyawera.
Engen congratulates the Engen Maths and Science School class of 2021 and offers a well-deserved round of applause to all the learners and teachers.