Sign in to my resources Register

Sign in to my resources

Basic Education Minister Angie MotshekgaBasic Education Minister Angie Motshekga at the Ministerial Breakfast celebrating Top Achievers 2018 at VodaWorld (Image: Bakonepix)8 January 2019 - Last week the outstanding results of 30 top achievers from all over the country were celebrated at the Ministerial Breakfast hosted at Vodaworld and during the live broadcast of the 2018 Matric Results.

The top achievers received awards in 11 categories including mathematics, physical science, special needs education (LSEN) and the five quintiles. The Class of 2018 was the first to write exams in 12 new subjects and some of these subjects have been included to the Top Achievers category: technical mathematics, technical sciences and sign language.

This year saw Gauteng and Western Cape as the provinces that contributed the most top achievers (7 each) followed Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in a shared second place (4).

All 30 top achievers will continue their education at a university but not before sharing their advice for the Class of 2019 and thanking their teachers and family for their invaluable and ongoing support over the years.

The Department of Basic Education has collected the inspirational stories of these talented young people in a brochure called the National Senior Certificate Examination Top Achievers which can be downloaded here.

We’re pleased to publish highlights of these stories below and to add some clarification, general top achiever statistics as well as information about the awards.



The categories for the 2018 Top Achievers are listed below, just click on the category to see the winners:  
Top Mathematics Achievers
Top Physical Science Achievers
Top SASL HL (Sign Language) Achievers
Top Technical Mathematics Achievers
Top Technical Science Achievers
Top Achievers in Quintile 1
Top Achievers in Quintile 2
Top Achievers in Quintile 3
Top Achievers in Quintile 4
Top Achievers in Quintile 5
Top LSEN Achievers

What are Quintiles?
All South African public ordinary schools are categorised into five groups, called quintiles, largely for purposes of the allocation of financial resources. Quintile 1 is the 'poorest' quintile, while Quintile 5 is the 'least poor'. These poverty rankings are determined nationally according to the poverty of the community around the school, as well as, certain infrastructural factors. Each quintile, nationally, contains 20% of all learners, but not 20% from each province. Schools in Quintile 1, 2 and 3 have been declared no-fee schools, while schools in Quintiles 4 and 5 are fee-paying schools.

What are LSEN schools?
The Top LSEN Achievers have all attended special education needs schools (LSEN).


General top achiever statistics

Top achievers on stageTop achievers 2018 on stage at the live Matric Results announcement (Image: Bakonepix)There are 30 top achievers (first, second and third place) in total:

  • Three of the top achievers are placed in more than one category:
    David Mark Dodkins from North West obtained first place in both Top Mathematics Achievers and Top Physical Sciences Achievers as well as second place in Top Achievers in Quintile 5
    Phiwayinkosi Mhlongo from Gauteng obtained first place in both Top Technical Mathematics Achievers and Top Technical Sciences Achievers
    Kamva Goso from Western Cape obtained second place in Top Physical Science Achievers as well as first place in Top Achievers in Quintile 2.
  • Of the 30, there are 18 boys and 12 girls.
  • Gauteng and Western Cape lead with seven top achievers followed by Eastern Cape and KZN (both four), North West (three), Limpopo (two) and Mpumalanga, Free State and Northern Cape (one).
  • Gauteng and Western Cape both took four of the 12 places in the Mathematics and Sciences categories, followed by two for both North West and Eastern Cape.
  • All top achievers will continue their education at a university, the majority in science & technology oriented subjects. Studies that will be pursued include Actuarial Science, Accounting Science, Medicine, Agricultural Science,  (Applied) Mathematics, Information Technology, Architectural Design, Computer Science, (Petro) Chemical Engineering and Mechatronic Engineering, Business, Languages and Musical Theatre.



The winners in each category were congratulated on national TV by the Minister and Deputy Minister of Basic Education and received their Excellence Awards. In addition a host of sponsors including Avbob, CompuBooks, Entsika, , IDC, Kagiso Trust, Massmart/Walmart, MTN Foundation, Vodacom Foundation and the Road Accident presented prizes to all Top Achievers.

The Vodacom Foundation donated a laptop, acellphone, 1 GB of data valid for 3 months, R220 worth of airtime and a Vodacom branded backpack to every top achiever.  

Top achievers 2018Top Achievers 2018 with Vodacom Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs Takalani Netshitenzhe, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Deputy Minister Enver Surty, Director General Mweli and Vodacom Foundation Executive Head Education Andile Dube (Image: Bakonepix)


The 2018 Top Achievers are:

Top Mathematics Achievers

First place DavidTop Mathematics Achiever David Dodkins (Image: Bakonepix)
David Mark Dodkins
Bergsig Akademie, North West

Highlights in David’s school career include competing at national level in the ATKV Debate Competition in 2017 and winning a gold medal and a category award at the 2013 Eskom Science Expo ISF.
His most important achievement was probably attending the national finals of the South African Mathematics Olympiad for three of his five years at high school. This Olympiad was what made David realise that he wanted to pursue a career in Mathematics. Hence, in 2019, he will be pursuing Actuarial Mathematics at the University of Pretoria.

He advises the Grade 12s of 2019 to prioritise. ‘If you haven’t realised
it by now, the results of this year’s labour will greatly determine your

Second place
Timothy Schlesinger
Rondebosch Boys’ High School, Western Cape

Going forward Timothy will be pursuing a Bachelor of Sciences in Mathematics and
Computer Sciences at The University of Cape Town.
He advises the class of 2019 to work diligently. Exerting themselves during the year makes life a lot easier during the final examination.

Third place
Liam Edward Gurney
Westerford High School, Western Cape

Liam’s passion for technology and science will find expression in his pursuit of a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Sciences as from 2019. His role model is Steve Sinclair, who started off as a hobby programmer and is now the creative director of Digital Extremes, which is essentially Liam’s dream job.


Top Physical Sciences Achievers

MECsMECs for Education Debbie Schafer (Western Cape) and Panyaza Lusufi (Gauteng) applaud the top achievers (Image:Bakonepix)First place
David Mark Dodkins
Bergsig Akademie, North West

See First place Top Mathematics Achievers

Second place
Kamva Goso
Intsebenziswano Secondary, Western Cape

This year Kamva was honoured with a monumental stone which signifies the mark he has left at school. He intends to study Agricultural Sciences at the University of Cape Town and his advice to the Class of 2019 is, ‘hard work is essential from the beginning. You will have to make sacrifices. It will not be easy but it will be worth it, as long as you focus on your goals’.

Third place
Jean Durand
Paul Roos Gimnasium, Western Cape

This achiever advises the Grade 12 learners of 2019 to ‘pay attention in class and work consistently throughout the year’. He intends to enroll for a bachelor’s degree in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch.


Top SASL HL Achievers

Maria Mabokodo MorganTop SASL HL Achiever Maria Mabokodo Morgan (Image: Bakonepix)First Place
Maria Mabokodo Morgan
Sizwile School for the Deaf, Gauteng

Maria’s greatest challenge was to choose the subjects that fitted her career path of wanting to become a medical doctor. She defied the odds stacked against her by her hearing impairment.

Throughout her schooling career Maria raked in academic achievements. Her leadership abilities have seen her being a chairlady of her school as well as a member of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL).
Her passion is to build a school exclusively for the Deaf so that their specific needs can be attended to wholly without them competing for attention.

Second place
Thabile Busisiwe Qondani
Kwathintwa School for the Deaf, KwaZulu Natal

Thabile is very passionate about studying law and wishes to become the first deaf lawyer to show that hearing impairments cannot and should not prevent anyone from pursuing their dreams. Her role models have been her supportive teachers, her aunt and cousin.

Third place
Ancilla Kaylyn Julius
Dominikaanse Skool vir Dowes, Western Cape

Ancilla has a passion for Sign Language and Design. Through the latter subject she is able to express her creativity. Her advice to the Class of 2019 is to manage their time well. She intends to study Information


Top Technical Mathematics Achievers

Phiwayinkosi MhlongoTop Technical Mathematics Achiever Phiwayinkosi Mhlongo (Image: Bakonepix)First place
Phiwayinkosi Mhlongo
Bona Comprehensive School, Gauteng

Phiwayinkosi’s greatest challenge was that his domestic environment was not conducive to studying. He managed to secure a spare classroom at school to study at night.
His mother is his role model because she is a problem solver and has supported him relentlessly. He intends to study civil engineering and he advises the Class of 2019 as follows: ‘They must study every day and make sure that they are ahead of the teacher. They should form study groups while there is still time because when you are in a group you learn new things that you would not have found if you were alone.’

Phiwayinkosi was inspired by Albert Einstein, because he was the greatest scientist of all time. He strives to follow in this genius’s footsteps.

Having won a Technical Mathematics Award at the SAICA Camp in Gauteng and being the top learner at his schools are merely the beginning of his achievements.

Second place
Lungiswa Sibisi
Tetolo Secondary School, Gauteng

Lungiswa has a keen interest in technical subjects such as Engineering Graphics and Design and Technical Mathematics. This interest will be nurtured when he pursues studies in Architectural Design.

Third place
Mihlali Fipazi
Bashee Senior Secondary School, Eastern Cape

Mihlali believes that the early bird catches the fattest worm. He advises the Grade learners of 2019 to be committed to their studies because success can only be attained by diligence, good time management skills and by being focused.


Top Technical Sciences Achievers

Sipamanda Cibi Third place Technical Sciences Achiever Sipamandla Cibi being interviewed at the Ministerial Breakfast (Image: Bakonepix)First place
Phiwayinkosi Mhlongo
Bona Comprehensive School, Gauteng

See First place Top Technical Mathematics Achievers

Second place
Atlegang Stevens Busang
Ekangala Comprehensive High School, Gauteng

Learners who are on the streets and take drugs instead of being at their school desks is one of Atlegang’s concerns. His commitment to ensuring the country produces responsive and responsible citizenry is encapsulated in his desire to pursue a career in engineering.

Third place
Sipamanda Cibi
Richard Varha High School, Eastern Cape

Sipamandla’s greatest challenge was to walk long distances to school on a daily basis. He was raised by a single parent and the family depends on a social grant. Despite these challenges, Sipamandla maintains that resilience is the key to everything and that his conditions at home helped him to achieve greater heights.


Top Achievers in Quintile 1

First place
MolelekengTop Achiever in Quintile 1 Molelekeng Mokoena (Image: Bakonepix)Molelekeng Anna Mokoena
Tsebo Secondary School, Free State

Molelekeng believes that, ‘Good enough is not good enough if it can be better, and better is not good enough if it can be best’. She gave of her best at high school and since Grade 10, she was crowned as the top academic achiever.

Her mother is her inspiration because she always prioritised and valued education. Oprah Winfrey is her role model because this world icon, who is humble and caring, values education and encourages young women to become leaders.

‘The earliest bird catches the fattest worm. Study ahead of time, that way you will have enough time to revise’ is her advice to the Class of 2019.

This academic year she intends to study Medicine at the University of Witwatersrand.

Second place
Muzomuhle William Mthembu
Ndlela Secondary School School, Mpumalanga

Muzomuhle wants to follow in Bill Gates’ footsteps by pursuing a career in Petroleum Chemical Engineering as a service to the people of this country and his own community of Ethandukukhanya Township. It is his desire to inspire the youth to realise the value of education instead of wallowing in activities that do not benefit humankind.

Third place
Sinolwethu Sesethu Mfedu
Eastern Cape

Sinolwethu intends to study in a commercial field at the University of Cape Town and looks up to Patrice Motsepe as her role model because he is a living example that South Africans have the capability to earn a living and go beyond that.


Top Achievers in Quintile 2

KamvaTop Achiever in Quintile 2 Kamva Goso (Image: Bakonepix)First place
Kamva Goso
Intsebenziswano Secondary, Western Cape

See Secon place Top Achievers Physical Sciences

Second place
Nqobile Nzimande
Langsyde Combined School, KwaZulu Natal

Nqobile believes that there is a need to equip the youth with the necessary skills to be able to enter the workplace. And it all boils down to having access to information about certain careers as early as one’s school years.

Access to the internet is vital as well as to motivate the youth to see the opportunities education opens.

Third place
Bongumenzi Cedric Ndlovu
Zama High School, KwaZulu Natal

This year he intends studying medicine (MBChB) at the University of Cape Town. If there are two things he could change in South Africa it is to reduce the unemployment rate and to address the levels of poverty in South Africa.


Top Achievers in Quintile 3

Kharendwe MudzielwanaTop Achiever in Quintile 3 Kharendwe Mudzielwana (Image: Bakonepix) First place
Kharendwe Mudzielwana
Thengwe High School, Limpopo

Kharendwe found it challenging to adapt to a new environment after changing high schools but this has taught him to cope well with change. Her sister, Pfunzo, is her greatest inspiration because she has set an example of how rewarding hard work can be.

Hard work has earned Kharendwe several subject awards and awards as a top achiever. Her advice to the Class of 2019 is, ‘study very hard, try to practise as many previous question papers that they can find as it helps you to see how the examiner thinks/works. Where they don’t understand they should ask their teachers or their fellow mates. They shouldn’t forget prayer’.

Kharendwe intends to study Accounting sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Second place
Avukile Austin Nkayi
Nyanga Senior Secondary School, Eastern Cape

Avukile’s role model is a neighbourhood friend, Lindokuhle, who managed to qualify as a doctor in spite of his challenging circumstances. Coupled with his friend’s inspiration, this young man’s spirit of perseverance motivated him to get accepted by the University of Cape Town to study medicine.

Third place
Felicia Makondo
EPP Mhinga High School, Limpopo

In 2017, Felicia was one of the top three national winners in the prestigious SAIPA National Accounting Olympiads. She strives to become a chartered accountant and is driven by her favourite quotation: ‘If you believe in it, then fight for it.’


Top Achievers in Quintile 4

Maiar Mamduh Mostafa AhmedTop Achiever in Quintile 4 Maiar Mamduh Mostafa Ahmed (Image: Bakonepix)First place
Maiur Mamduh Mostafa Ahmed
Potchefstroom Girls High, North West

Her parents’ exemplary efforts in raising her inspired her and they are her role models.

Maiar played squash for the North West team and she intends to study computer and electrical engineering at North West University. Her advice to the Grade 12 learners of 2019 is, ‘Always believe that you can achieve greatness. No hard work goes unacknowledged’.

This young achiever wishes to change the face of education by focusing on improving underprivileged communities. In view of this, her favourite quote is, ‘We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred human responsibility’ (Albert Einstein).

Second place
Tiisetso Molata
PJ Simelane Secondary School, Gauteng

In 2019, Tiisetso will be pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering degree with specialisation in Electrical Engineering at the University of Pretoria. He envisions a South African education system which puts more emphasis on technology subjects that will position the country as one of the catalyst players in the Fourth Industrial Revolution global economy.

Third place
Rolf Martin Behrens
Rustenburg High School, Northern Cape
‘Winning is not everything, it is the only thing!’ is Rolf’s favourite quotation that guides his ambitions. In 2019, he will pursue Actuarial Science at the University of the North West.


Top Achievers in Quintile 5

Justine Lara CrookTop Achiever in Quintile 5 Justine Lara Crook (Image: Bakonepix)First place
Justine Lara Crook
Rustenburg Girls High School, Western Cape

One of Justine’s greatest achievements was being awarded the President’s Award in gold after completing the bronze and silver levels. She raked in numerous academic achievements.

Grade 12 taught her that it is important to work hard, but one must also leave time for oneself. She intends to enrol for a bachelor’s degree in Astrophysics or Mechatronic Engineering.

She admires Malala Yousafzai’s strength of character in defying societal expectations. Justine firmly believes that Science and Technology could generate solutions to improve and develop infrastructure to give all South Africans access to needs such as running water, electricity, equal education, safety and efficient transport.

This young achiever’s favourite quotation is, ‘Always be yourself because the people that matter don’t mind and the ones that mind
don’t matter’.

Second place
David Mark Dodkins
Bergsig Akademie, North West

See First Place Top Mathematics Achievers

Third place
Jarrod Staples
Westville Boys’ High School, KwaZulu Natal

Jarrod wants to follow in the footsteps of Ellon Musk, a fellow South African, who has become a global business icon by pursuing a career in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pretoria.


Top LSEN Achievers

Mongezi S'bongasonke MbathaTop LSEN Achiever Mongezi S'bongasonke Mbatha (Image: Bakonepix)First place
Mongezi S’bongasonke Mbatha
Prinshof School, Gauteng

Mongezi appreciates the opportunities afforded to him at Prinshof School. His motto is Carpe Diem (Seize the day!) and this manifests in every part of his character and existence.

Since Grade 9, he was crowned as the top achiever at his school and he intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Informatics at the University of Pretoria.

Mongezi has two role models. This first is Isaac Newton because he changed the world. The second person is Elon Musk because he is currently changing the world.

He dreams of a South Africa where the disparities between the rich and the poor are corrected. His message to the Class of 2019 is, ‘You have made it this far, you can go further. Our generation will be the best the world has seen’.

Second place
Izak Rohan Crafford
Prinshof School, Gauteng

If there is anything Izak could change in the world, it is to convince people
that disabilities are not abnormalities. He has a vision of a world where people do not see those who live with disabilities as being unapproachable.

Izak will pursue a Bachelor of Arts in languages at University of Pretoria. His favourite quite is by Franz Joseph Haydn, ‘I am the master of no instrument but I know the power of all and I know each for what they are’.

Third place
Lize Marie van Wyk
Pionier Skool, Western Cape

Lize offered 8 subjects in Grade 12 and her passion for music motivated her to add Music as an additional study field. The extra work was initially a cause for concern but she learned that diligence rewards one.

This year, Lize intends to focus on her music by working towards advanced performance in piano, singing and playing the guitar. This will pave the way towards studying Musical Theatre at the University of Stellenbosch in 2020.


 Related articles