Mother of top achieving deaf pupil: “Her deafness is not a limitation”

She has been a determined student since her first day of school and it is no surprise that she is one of the country’s top achievers in the Class of 2019.

Placed as the number 1 student under the South African sign language category, Thabile Mathumbu (18), a student at Kwathintwa School for the Deaf in Cato Ridge, walked away with four distinctions in mathematical literacy, visual arts, South African sign language and life orientation. Her mother, Thobeka Mathumbu speaks on her behalf and has been over the moon since they received the results and shares their journey with Move!.

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Thabile was born deaf after her mother experienced complications during pregnancy. She sought to teach herself sign language so that she could be able to communicate with her daughter. “I have always had a strong belief in her achieving whatever she sets her mind on,” Thabile’s mother says. “Although people have misconceptions, like how she could be incapable of doing something because she is deaf, my daughter has shown beyond all odds that her deafness is not a limitation.”

Thabile was enrolled at Kwathintwa when she was six years old and her journey has been consistent in perseverance and hard work.

Her mother recalls the day they received the results quite vividly. “It was so surreal, I had always seen these things happening on TV but did not imagine that I would be in this position someday,” she says.

She was even more ecstatic when they were informed that Thabile would be honoured at a breakfast gala which was held in Pretoria earlier this week. “We flew to Johannesburg and my daughter just could not contain her excitement of being in a plane for the first time,” she says.

“Thabile has always been determined to reach her goals, she is the type of person who wants something and will work hard towards achieving it,” the proud mother says. She will be pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and hopes to be a teacher at her alma mater one day.

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