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Free State School Receives High Acclaim for outstanding Matric Results

Nanabolela Secondary School in the township of Thabong in the Free State is a Quintile 2, no-fee paying school with 1,300 learners. In spite of its many challenges, the school has been recognised for achieving a 99.18% pass rate in the 2022 Senior Certificate Examination at an annual ceremony attended by the late Free State MEC for education, Tate Makgoe.

Accepting the award on behalf of the school, Nanabolela Principal Sibi Mokhothu said: ‘’From 2018 to 2021 we have maintained a pass rate of over 90%. We were so close to [achieving] a 100% this time.’’ But achieving consistently high matric pass rates has been no easy feat and the school’s leader said that his school’s most pressing challenge is keeping his learners safe from danger and neglect.

‘’We have a high number of child-headed households and a high level of parental neglect. Many of our learners live in dangerous informal settlements, without access to basic services like water and electricity. We take these learners in, allowing them to sleep at the school, so they are at least able to study. But this has financial implications. We have to use money budgeted for other activities just to keep our learners safe,’’ Mokhothu explained.

Principal Mokhothu is currently a participant on the Partners for Possibility leadership development programme powered by Citizen Leader Lab. The award-winning 12-month programme pairs principals from schools in under-resourced communities with business leaders from the corporate sector. Principals receive the support and skills needed to lead change and mobilise communities around their schools, and business leaders develop new leadership skills through exposure to the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world of the South African public school. Mokhothu is partnered with the Managing Director of Thabong Bakery, Annah Lelimo.

The principal says that the Partners for Possibility programme is helping him by ‘’refining his management skills’’ and ‘’inspiring him to broaden his reading on and understanding of leadership’’.

For more information on Citizen Leader Lab and how you could become a partner, email

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