Her parents are happy that their daughter’s hard work has paid off.

I had no time for boys, books were my friends’ – top achieving Eastern Cape matriculant on her success

She has not been washing any dishes, cooking or doing any other household chores for a year. Instead, her cook mom and her scholar transport driver dad have been handling all of that for the last few months.

And now it has paid off. Aphelele Bly (19) is not only a matric top achiever at her school, Ulwazi High School, but she is also one of the top achievers in the entire Eastern Cape.


Her parents, Boniswa and Thembinkosi Bly could not be happier.

“I feel so proud, I could cry. I really do not know how to describe how I feel. Intliziyo idada emafutheni (I am over the moon).”

Boniswa says when children register at Ulwazi, they, together with their parents, are told what it is going to take to maintain their excellent matric pass rate.

Read more | Stressing about your kids’ matric exams? Here’s how to make it about them, not you

“They tell you at the very beginning from grade 8. And as the grades get harder, you start seeing less of your child.

“In this final year, she would be at school until 6pm every night and would only get home after 6, to 7, depending on the taxis. And without fail, she would get out of her school uniform, straight to her pajamas and do school work. Now it has really paid off. Her father and I help each other around the house so that she can focus on the books.”

Boniswa is a cook at an old age home and Thembinkosi is a scholar transport driver.

Boniswa says the unconventional methods employed at Ulwazi do not only help with their children passing, but there are other benefits too.

“It may seem extreme to other people, but as the parents of these kids we are happy because our children are excelling. The other thing is that the strict rules and always being at school keeps them off the streets and out of trouble.”

Boniswa and her husband do not have glamourous jobs that allow them to have fancy holidays or weekends away. But now, thanks to Aphelele doing so well, they have been invited by the department of education to spend a few nights at the Premier Hotel at the East London International Convention Center.

“We are going to be sleeping in nice beds and we will be waited on and it’s thanks to her. I have always seen people on TV wearing cosy white gowns and this week it is going to be my turn to wear them,” she laughs.

Aphelele has applied to all the universities around the country and has been provisionally accepted, pending the release of the final results.

“I am not sure where I am going to go to school yet, but I know that I want to study BCom accounting. The end goal is to be a CA,” she says.

Read more | ‘No phones, no church and no chores for matrics’ says school principal with a 100% matric pass rate

She is the last born of three sisters. Her eldest sister did not pursue higher education, her middle sister is doing her master’s in politics at the University of the Western Cape.

“I really had no time for boys, TV or friends. My books were my friends. I would get home every night, do homework and revise what I learnt that day or I would study ahead, so that by the time it is taught in class, it is not completely foreign to me.”

Speaking to Drum after the official results were released, Aphelele says she is excited about what doors will open for her now that she has received her bachelor pass.

“I have not seen the statement yet, but the SMS I received says I got distinctions for all seven of my subjects. I am very excited to see the statement so that I can get the percentages.”

Her subjects are IsiXhosa, English, maths, accounting, life science, physics and life orientation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top