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Breaking the rural stigma: Meet the Orange Farm learner who bagged 9 distinctions

by Luqmaan Rawat

40km south of Johannesburg lies a semi-rural, undeveloped area called Orange Farm. It’s a township like any other – crime, poverty and drugs are prevalent in the area. Remarkably, one Grade 12 girl has overcome those ills and made her way to get 9 distinctions in the 2021 national senior certificate exams. 

Speaking to Salaamedia, Jubilee Tinomudaishe Dongo from Masibambane College expressed her joy at gaining 9 distinctions and attributed her success to her teachers as well as her parents.

“I think the support of my teachers, my parents as well. They are what drives me to achieve the things that I have achieved.”

Getting these distinctions has not been an easy road for Dongo who explains that she had to sacrifice a lot of things including precious sleep and time with friends.

“I sacrificed sleep most of the time. The time I spent with friends, the time I spent going out because matric is a lot.”


Many matriculants want to achieve what Dongo has achieved and for them, she has wise and inspirational words.

“I would say persevere, believe in yourself and some of the virtues I would like to tell them is dedication and self-sacrifice.”

Her mother was brimming with delight and did not hold back to praise her child; stating that Dongo was an ordinary child

“So, Jubilee growing up was that person who was ambitious, who believed in the best and pushed herself to achieve the best. When she was studying, she was competing against herself. It was never about any other person, but she just wanted to achieve her best…. I feel so proud especially for Masibambane College. Her achievement will put this place on the map.”

Coming from a rural area that suffers from poverty and teenage pregnancy, her mother credits her parental skills and rules to keeping her daughter away from those ills and succeeding.

“What makes her different is family support. She has grown up with parents [and] knowing that she was not allowed to play in the streets. The street was almost out of bounds. The streets is where most of the bad things happen but if we try to move our children off the streets they will maintain the values that they learnt at school.”

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