Dr RP Sambo speech delivered at the Honoka Combined school prize giving ceremony held at CTC Lodge at Makosha on Tuesday


An address presented by Dr RP Sambo1 to learners at Honoka Combined School

06 March 2024

This is a great question which does not have to be answered by words only but by your actions. It does not help thinking about something and behaving in another way. In my language we say: “Mintirho ya vulavula”, which means actions or deeds speak louder than words.

Honoka Combined school learners
Honoka Combined school learners

I would like to congratulate the school for a job well done in producing the 100% pass in the 2023 National Senior certificate examination (NSC). I went through the analysis of the results right away. Thanks to the circuit manager, Mr Chabalala for favouring me with a copy of these results. I would like to suggest that over and above getting the best result in the circuit, look at strategic subjects and categories of passes. For example, I see cases of pass at level 2 which is 30%. I would suggest that as part of your strategies to improve the results please check on how you could move some learners to level 3 and 4. For those who got level 6 passes in the subjects, how can you push them to level 7. Check also on how you could increase the number of quality bachelors.

When you plan for improvement, do not compare yourself with Man’ombe schools only. Check on the best level you can achieve as Honoka Combined School. Remember, the story that says that a one-eyed man in the land of the blind is a king. I want you to be a two eyed man in the land of the blind where they will be led the way by you.

Well-known academic cum cleric Dr RP Sambo telling it like it is at the Honoka Combined school event

What should prompt you to plan for your future? Somebody once said: “Your future depends on your dreams”. : “Dreams come a size too big so that we can grow into them”. (Josie Bisset). YetJean Satre said: “To do is to be and to be is to do”. So there is no time for lazy people in this world. Not even for the very able ones. The story of man is a story of a hard worker.We have to do something in order to achieve something.

If you want to be successful think forward. Let us learn from others: “All successful men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision (underscoring added), that goal or purpose.”   (Brian Tracy).

When do you start being serious? Not tomorrow but now. Tomorrow never comes any way. One of the intelligent people said:  “Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake” (Marie Beyon Ray).

Hosi Bohani Shigamani telling the Honoka school how they do it as traditional leaders at the Collins Chabane Local municipality in Vhembe

When you decide that you want to be, act what you want to be. If you want to be a doctor, act like a doctor now when you are still a learner. If you want to be a police officer, act like a well behaved police officer. How can it be that when you are a doctor you come late to the theatre to conduct an operation? The patient will die before you arrive. And when you are performing an operation to a patient can you stop and go get some puffs of cigarette outside? My learners, this should not be the case. Behave just like what you aspire to be.

I would like to give a simple advice. There are not so many things to do to achieve the good results. Simply, the following need to happen:

  • The School Governing body must govern
  • The Principal must be a good CEO
  • The School Management Team must manage
  • Teachers must teach
  • Learners must learn

That’s it. Simple!

Dear learners, aim for obtaining distinctions. Nowadays the stakes are high. There are more potential learners to be admitted to the higher education institutions than the total number of spaces in the institutions. As a result, the universities go for the top performers (those getting 80% and above). I remember a relative of mine who could not be admitted in medicine (to study for general practice as a doctor). This young boy had a 61% pass in mathematics. Some learners have even resorted to studying for careers they would have not dreamt they would follow as a last resort. This has frustrated them. So, aim to be a real top achiever. Passing with a Bachelor does not necessarily lead to admission for a bachelor’s degree at the university. We need quality.

There are good bachelor passes and not so good bachelor passes. What matters are good admission point scores (APS) to universities. I tested some learners in a few schools when I was still appointed by the Department of Education. In one case I asked for a top performer in a school and a young boy came out. I asked for his scores in the last quarter and added the level ratings together. The course he wanted to follow needed a total point score of 36 and he had obtained a total of 31. For the first time he realized that he was not as good as he and other people thought about him. In one case after presenting to the learners about the admission requirements for some courses, a young boy came me as if he was crying. He said: “Sir, if I had known about what you advised on today, I would have been a totally different and better performing learner. I am hearing these things for the first time. Hmmmmmmm? The learners perish for lack of knowledge.

What does the above suggest? That while teachers are teaching the day to day subject lessons the issue of careers must be factored in. Learners need to know as early as the end of the first quarter whether they are doing well according to their envisaged careers. He Life Orientation and subject teachers should help learners track their performance.

In the City Press of 14 September 2008 I read an article titled “Shift your gear into positive” (Jeanne Hugo). The following are mentioned as being important for success as your shift you gear to positive or become optimistic:

  • Practise optimism so that it becomes a habit;
  • Control your reaction/actions;
  • Become a problem solver;
  • Stop fretting and dwelling on mistakes and future problems;
  • Guard against doom sayers and bad friends.

Preparations for a good pass

Please make sure you set targets and study hard. Avoid being distracted by going around with friends and wasting time. There is a young man I know who won the Science Olympiads in Grade 10, then in Grade 11 and lastly in Grade 12. When asked how it happened, he explained that he planned to win and then went on to study very hard for all these years. Just simple. When he won in Grade 10, he was sent to Great Britain. The second time when he won again in Grade 11 he went to Australia. When he won in Grade 12, he was given all the money he would have amassed if he went abroad. Wow! What an achievement! It all comes to those who set targets and pursue them by studying hard.

There is a request I want to make. Learners must apply on time; as early as when calls for applications are invited in May or June. Apply for the following:

  • Tuition: for the qualification you wish to follow
  • Accommodation
  • Bursary

When you are fortunate to be admitted to the higher education institution, go and study. Do not come back with a child but with a certificate. I was told of a young man who went to a university and came back empty-handed; no certificate. However, a short while after coming back, some people came and brought the child he fathered when he was at school. No certificate but a child. This should be reversed to “No child but a certificate”.

Let us come back to studying hard. In fact, I suggest that Grade 10-12 learners should study from 17h30/18h00 to 23h00 daily. Of course there should be breaks in between. Such good learners must have personal time tables. This has been tried and tested. I personally used it for my own sons and daughter. It worked wonders.

I can therefore say and gladly so that I have told you what to do to be successful. The future is in you hands. The ball is in you court. Those that have ears have listened.

Good luck with your school in the current academic year.

Thank you!

Dr Sambo is the Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics holder from the University of Witwatersrand

Leave a Reply