Katlego Monone, 18, went from learning how to write with his feet to making it as one of South Africa’s top performing matriculant for 2017.
Monone from Martie du Plessis High School in Mangaung was among the 21 top pupils in the country invited to a breakfast with Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga in Sandton, Johannesburg, yesterday.
The breakfast was attended by top pupils and their proud parents from different provinces.
Monone, who wrote seven subjects including business and computer studies, was born without arms.
Speaking to the Sowetan, Monone said he did not allow his disability to get in the way of his dreams.
“I don’t see myself as disabled. I see myself as differently abled,” he said.
He said he worked hard to prepare for last year’s final examinations.
This, he said, included sitting in his room and switching off all entertainment devices to engage in hours of focused studying.
Monone’s strife for education started with having to go through therapy which enabled him to write with his feet before he could start schooling.
He said the gradual process eventually abled him to write perfectly.
He said he was looking forward to studying law at the University of Free State.
His father Gaongalelwe Monone said he was proud of his son.
“He wanted to prove to the world that even if you are disabled you can make it,” Gaongalelwe said.
He said Katlego had always shown determination and never wanted to wallow in self-pity, adding that his son was a talented soccer player.
Mphoentle Piliso, 17, from Cofimvaba Senior Secondary School in the Eastern Cape, said she felt honoured to be part of the nation’s top achievers.
Piliso said she made it to the top despite being diagnosed with asthma during the mid-year examinations.
“It was challenging because I could not cope with the new lifestyle and having to take medication. Now I’m confident that it won’t stop me,” she said.