Imizikayifani Primary School
Combining science and maths to help society
TWEEN mathematics whizz and aspiring scientist Snqobile Cele (12) received gold at the KZN North Coast Young Scientists Eskom Expo Regional competition for her project ‘Purified electricity that minimises carbon emission’. The Imizikayifani Primary School Grade 6 pupil wants to change the world by advancing human knowledge and addressing societal issues.
Devoted to her academics, she obtains an average of 86 per cent, and is a member of the school’s mental maths club ‘Expression’ which helps improve critical thinking, problem-solving, speed, and accuracy.
Snqobile’s diverse range of interests include cooking, gardening, robotics, netball, music, reading, science, brain games, and mental math.
Committed to transforming the community, she is also a girl guide who regularly volunteers at an old age home and community clean-ups.
“I balance my academics and extra-curricular activities through effective time management. I have a detailed study schedule and ensure I complete my homework before engaging in other activities,” said Snqobile, who says she is grateful to her parents and teachers who help her goals while enjoying her youth.
When it comes to the future, she is focused on becoming a Doctor of Science, conducting research, collecting data, and executing experiments to impact the science community.
Young muso hits all the right notes
YOUNG flute sensation Andrew McMurray recently achieved an outstanding score of 93% for his Trinity College London examination.
Trinity College London is an international exam board that conducts roughly half a million assessments across more than 60 countries.
The Grade 6 Grantleigh Schools learner takes pride in putting Richards Bay on the map.
Andrew’s hard work, dedication and passion for music are what make him able to impress any crowd.
His pursuit of excellence, talent and ability to listen to instruction set him apart.
With the help of the school’s head of culture, Mrs Lourette Upton, Andrew plans to continue flying the Grantleigh flag high.
Richards Bay Primary School
Local gymnastics sensation
BAY gymnast Hlelolenkosi Xaba (13) recently represented South Africa when she competed at the World Gymnaestrada competition held in Amsterdam.
The Richards Bay Primary School learner is a leader among her peers as she is the vice-captain of the school’s soccer and hockey teams.
A fierce academic, Hlelolenkosi placed in the top 10 in her grade for the last two terms.
When she is not dominating on the sport field, her favourite activities include cycling and baking to pass the time.
Her lifelong dream is to become a professional gymnast, hockey or soccer player, while obtaining a degree in geology.
Nandi Asha Cele
Floraton Primary School
Nandi - a true humanitarian at heart
THE apple didn’t fall far from the tree for young eSikhaleni model Nandi Asha Cele.
At only 9 years old, she is following in her mother’s footsteps and making waves in the modelling industry – not just as a model but a humanitarian who uplifts other pageant children.
While she started modelling only last year, Nandi is already making a difference through her charity drive where she donates her pageant outfits to other child models less fortunate than herself.
“The hardest thing about pageants is you have to look good all the time. Every time you enter a competition, you need new outfits, which is not possible for many.
“I am blessed to have support from my mother, and I always feel bad for others who love the industry but can’t realise their dreams because of family backgrounds.
“I decided I would give away my used modelling clothes so other young models can have a chance to shine and make their parents proud,” said Nandi.
Since she started modelling, the Grade 4 learner at Floraton Primary School has chosen competitions carefully, and only participates in pageants with meaning.
On Sunday, she continued her winning streak when she was crowned Miss Heritage Pride in Empangeni.
Since she started her journey, the emerging model has scooped several top titles.
She started with winning Miss Pink Hope last year after her well-prepared presentation about cancer impressed the panel and audience.
Within a month, she took the Miss Christmas Jingle Bells second princess title.
This year, Nandi was crowned Miss Royal Valentine 2023, Miss African Doll, Miss eSikhaleni first princess, and Miss Humanity Best Smile.
She also took the Miss Phenomenal Bay queen and ambassador tittles, and was crowned Miss Blue Diamond. “I loved being part of Miss Blue Diamond because it was not just about modelling but about creating autism awareness and learning about it,” she said.
Nandi’s biggest dream is to one day become Miss South Africa, and create platforms for other girls to work for their communities.
Go-getter Gwen rides to the top
GWEN Farland (12) is not the average pre-teen, having recently been awarded her KZN colours after a breathtaking performance of her equestrian skills.
She is the South African Champion, having earned that title at the SA Youth Championships recently, after placing first in the Dressage Children’s Novice Horse Class category.
The Grade 7 Felixton College pupil is an avid animal lover and the proud owner of pony Oros and horse Royal Enclosure. Gwen dedicates two days a week to perfecting the art of horseback riding while balancing her academic responsibilities.
Despite all her success, she remains humble and continues to use her achievements as her motivation.
Gwen is grateful that she gets to do what she loves with Oros and Royal Enclosure by her side.
Richards Bay Primary School
All-rounder teen achieving her goals
RICHARDS Bay Primary School pupil Paityn Reddy was one of four players selected from her school to compete in the recent Northern Coastal netball event in Vryheid.
The Grade 7 pupil, who is also deputy headgirl, is an all-round academic and sport achiever.
This year she participated in the Rising Stars Tennis Championships, was selected for the KZN cricket squad, was involved in Macs Rugby Academy as an after-school activity, and is currently in the school’s Land Service club.
She obtained her chess SA Fide colours in 2018, and competed at the South African Junior Chess Championships.
Her hobbies include reading, playing with her dogs, and enjoying time out with her friends at the skate park. Paityn intends to study civil engineering or pursue a career in the medical field.
Her goal in life is to be the best version of herself and make a difference in society.
Veldenvlei Primary School
Emerging equestrian champ
DEPUTY headgirl at Veldenvlei Primary School, Tianè Hattingh competed in a recent showjumping event at Dayspring Equestrian Centre outside Empangeni.
She walked away with rozettes in the 30cm and 40cm categories.
The Grade 7’s love for horses and equine sport takes up all her free time, and she recently joined Dayspring Equestrian Centre to further her training.
While Tianè’s passion lies in show jumping, the young sportswoman also runs cross country and plays tennis.
It is challenging spending long hours training and giving the requisite attention and care to her horse, as her evenings are spent studying and doing homework.
She strives to better herself in all aspects of life, caring for others, especially her horses.
Tianè believes in always chasing her dreams regardless of how impossible they may seem.
School ambassador leads by example
GRADE 7 hockey superstar Nicole Gunda (12) of Northland School in Monzi was recently selected to be part of the King Cetshwayo District team.
She is also an excellent netball player but is focused on a career path that revolves around her fi rst love – hockey.
In her spare time, she expresses her creative side by drawing to help ease her mind.
Described as an ‘overcomer’ by her teachers, the pre-teen continues to leave them in shock with how she handles adversity.
Her diligence and perseverance are admired by her peers.
Nicole achieves top marks academically and was top of her Grade 6 class at the end of last year.
She was recently awarded the Northland School Ambassador Award as she embodies the school’s values of courage, integrity, respect, accountability, commitment, generosity, humility, compassion, kindness, fairness, self-control and forgiveness.
Grantleigh Primary School
Sweet honey business
YOUNG entrepreneur Matthew Grant (12) of Grantleigh is the proud owner of ‘Uju Honey’, his own honey-making business.
The Grade 7 pupil is not only a business owner, but excels academically as well.
Working hard comes naturally to him, and he ensures he always places in the top three.
Matthew enjoys outdoor adventures such as target shooting, fishing and camping.
Known to his family as a champion reader, in his spare time he can be found curled up with a good book to broaden his horizons.
His plans for the future include obtaining a degree from a prestigious university and owning a farm one day.
For now, Matthew is focused on growing his honey business and being an extraordinary 12-year-old boy.
Arboretum Primary School
Farm life fascinates keen Starr
ARBORETUM Primary School learner Starr Henwood has always enjoyed the outdoors, nature and animals, and her family’s recent move to a new home on a farm was a real super treat.
The Grade 3 youngster, who would like to be a veterinarian or a paediatrician, has taken a keen interest in the sugar cane planting process, as well as farm animals, taking trips on the machinery, and spending time learning more about crop farming.
The eight year old is described as loving and caring, and is always ready to give a helping hand in the house, at Sunday School or at her school’s aftercare where she is always ready to assist the younger children.
Starr enjoys teaching and sharing information, and loves participating in swimming, hockey and Kumon. Taking a keen interested in Orators, and speech and drama, she is gearing up for an Orators Competition next month at Grantleigh.
Floraton Primary School
Young Bay gymnast jets abroad to represent SA
FLORATON Primary School pupil Kayla Lees is gearing up for the 2023 World Gymnaestrada in Netherlands from 30 July to 5 August.
The 11-year-old Bay Rhythmic Club gymnast is registered with the South African Gymnastics Federation and has raised a substantial amount so far but has to raise a further R20 000 to cover the costs.
The young athlete has been involved in the sport for just over two years and has made significant strides, excelling at all her competitions.
As this is the opportunity of a lifetime, Kayla’s family and friends are working round the clock to fundraise and help her reach her financial target.
Kayla’s mother Clare said they are hoping to have all payments in by the end of March, and appeal to local businesses, community groups and individuals to assist with a contribution.
For donations, contact Clare on 079 2988244.
Bay Primary School
Keziah leaves her mark through acts of service
BAY Primary School pupil Keziah Malander is kind and caring, always ready to lend a helping hand to her family, friends and classmates.
The eight year old gives of her best in the classroom and on the sport field where she excels in athletics and recently joined the school cricket team.
She is an avid fund raiser for her school and participated in the 2022 Mini Debs Ball to raise funds for the school hall project.
She looks forward to participating in every school fundraising initiative and project to advance her school.
For Keziah, being of service and supporting those she loves is vital and she takes extra care to help her parents around the house and with her one-year-old brother.
She is also part of her church children’s ministry and enjoys singing and dancing. For this youngster, dancing comes naturally and she is excited to soon be joining a ballet school to develop new dance techniques.
In her spare time, Keziah loves being outdoors and playing with her cat Angela, and baking up a storm for her family.
Empangeni Preparatory School
Model on a mission to make a difference
EMPANGENI Preparatory School’s Andiswa Buthelezi (11) is passionate about community work and empowering others.
The Grade 5 pupil is friendly, caring, and puts her faith in God. She firmly believes in spreading goodwill by making a difference though her charity work Andiswa supports local non-profits and has made donations to projects like Zululand Hospice Association, Lifeline Zululand, Richards Bay Family Care, the Scarlet Pageant, as well as Miss and Mr Youth Queen and King for the I Am Worthy Foundation.
As a member of Empangeni Trelique Models International, she has attained numerous achievements.
She is also a member of the Full Gospel Church and enjoys Sunday School as well as her hobbies singing, modelling and sports. “I balance academic and other activities by taking each task step by step, making a timetable, and focusing on subjects that need extra attention,” said Andiswa, who aspires to be a teacher one day.
“When there is a competition I give more attention to that particular sequence.
“My goal is to encourage other children to never give up.”
Empangeni Preparatory School
Senamile uses talents to help others
HER love for the performing arts, particularly dancing and singing, keeps Senamile Buthelezi (9) on her toes.
The Grade 3 Empangeni Preparatory School pupil also enjoys modelling, sports, and maintaining academic excellence.
She has a positive attitude and believes in putting God first in everything she does. “I make sure that I focus on my academics, and extracurricular activities allow me to take a break from my studies.”
Senamile has achieved numerous pageant titles and also won a dance trophy at the Boardwalk Showdown Event last year.
She enjoys charity work and makes regular donations to local charities, as well as supporting local projects with her time
All-round talent making his mark
TALENTED teen Jachin Naidoo continues to rack up awards for public speaking, arts, drama, modelling, and sports.
This all-rounder has dominated the stage from five years old, participating in school plays and taking leading roles in performances, which has boosted his public speaking skills.
The Grade 10 pupil excelled at the Conspirito National Forte finals in September, and was a national winner in three categories: Prepared Bible Reading, Afrikaans Public Speaking, and English Public Speaking. He achieved over 90% in all five entered categories. Jachin describes Conspirito as a remarkable Eistedfodd, and as his fifth year participating, said it has been a conducive platform for growth.
Earlier this year, Jachin also participated in the ATKV Redenaars in the Public Speaking 2nd Language category. His firstyear entry earned him fourth place in KZN. Outside of public
performance, Jachin is a black belt karateka and sempei at Bonsai-Do Dojo under the instruction of Sensei Kobus Riekert.
Having competed since the age of 4, he qualified in 2019 as a member of the SA team. The youngster is also a model with Trelique Model Agency and was crowned Mr Best of the Best KZN 2021.
Jachin is part of the school choir and has travelled to many competitions. He recently competed in the South African Championship of Performing Arts (SACOPA) where he received his KZN colours, including a bronze in the runway Formal Modelling and Photographic Model categories, and silver for Open Acting. The incredible talent has also been selected to participate at the World Championship of Performing Arts in Los Angeles next year. Jachin partners with LifeLine Zululand on a blanket drive and supports various charity efforts including toy and children’s clothing drive
ahead of the festive season.
St Catherine’s School
There’s no time for negativity
LARGER-than-life personality Pretty Genati (15) from St Catherine’s School embodies school spirit and academic excellence.
The teenager was recently awarded half-colours for hockey, was selected for the U16 King Cetshwayo hockey team, and is a competitive tennis player.
The Grade 9 pupil also does well academically, placing second in her grade.
Armed with a beautiful smile and competitive spirit, Pretty supports every St Catherine’s team when they are out on the pitch.
Her ability to encourage, uplift, and motivate her peers is admired by all who come into contact with her.
Her hard work and dedication were evident when she played two roles in the school’s Alice in Wonderland production.
Pretty is part of the school’s marimba band, and enjoys modern dancing for which she has been awarded numerous trophies. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and cooking.
Next year, Pretty looks forward to becoming more involved in community work through the Interact club, and aims to be a library monitor.
This youngster maintains a positive outlook, living by the motto: You Only Live Once (YOLO)!
Empangeni High School
Empangeni lad passionate about people
TEENAGE philanthropist Marnus Combrinck (19) is passionate about making the world a better place.
The Empangeni High School headboy also enjoys playing the piano and saxophone, and takes pride in immersing himself in various cultural activities. He was named ‘Cultural
Personality of the Year’ in 2019 and ‘All-rounder of the Year’ last year.
After being awarded a scholarship to the USA as part of a cultural exchange programme, Marnus gained valuable insight into real-world issues.
This experience ignited his love and passion for community projects.
Marnus is the proud founder of Project Eco-Empowerment, which is a community cleaning initiative to make Empangeni cleaner for all.
He heads a team of youngsters who enthusiastically share his passion for changing their community for the better.
A top three academic performer, Marnus balances his love for academics, music and home life by being an efficient planner.
In his spare time, he enjoys exercising, reading and spending time in nature.
Marnus plans to study actuarial science at the University of Pretoria.
Richem Secondary School
Creativity knows no limits
ASPIRING poet Nompendulo Mthembu uses her culture as the voice behind her craft.
At the tender age of 16, she recently won first place at the Cultural Activities Competition held in Ngwelezana.
The Richem Secondary School Grade 10 pupil is passionate about expressing herself through art and creative writing.
She uses her platform to encourage her peers from school and church to love and embrace their rich heritage and culture.
Nompendulo thrives on balance and has created her own personalised timetable to help her schedule her academics and writing.
In her downtime, she enjoys watching her favourite television programmes to unwind.
An aspiring lawyer and businesswoman, she wants to help bridge the youth unemployment gap.
Lwandile Lungile Minenhle Dludla
Khombindlela High School
Beauty queen with a big heart
MISS Khombindlela High School beauty queen, Lwandile Lungile Minenhle Dludla, is more than what meets the eye. The 16 year old fell in love with pageants while watching Toddlers and Tiaras on TLC when she was just seven.
“I’d act like I was part of the competition, modelling in front of the television while my mom watched and cheered me on,” recalls the Grade 11 pupil.
Her dreams became more attainable when she saw a familiar face on television, Nomvelo Cebekhulu, who was from her home town.
Lwandile started out with a modelling agency, however, the financial constraints of a single parent meant she had to leave.
Undeterred, she has continued to perform exceptionally well in academics, with dreams of one day becoming a businesswoman to assist her mom financially.
Her life-long dream is to become a voice for the youth, and she prays that one day she will be able to create a platform for teenagers to speak about their struggles.
“My long-term goal is to own a centre to help those in need and provide therapy sessions for teenagers, and support and care for their mental health,” she said.
“I have been through a lot, but I manage to get through every day even though I struggle. I believe in God and pray about it every day.”
Besides her striking good looks and confidence on the runway, the teenager is a keen soccer player. She is known as a playmaker in the midfield and a ‘Bend it like Beckham’ striker for her Khombindlela team.
Thuthukani Special School
Local wins gold in Special Olympics
ZULULAND swimmer Melokuhle Dube (16) won the gold medal in the 100m breaststroke at the Special Olympics World Games hosted in Berlin, Germany last month.
The Thuthukani Special School pupil also participated in the 100m freestyle and 4x50m relay, but it was in breaststroke that he blew away the opposition.
The Special Olympics World Games is the world’s largest inclusive sport event at which thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities from 190 countries compete in 26 sporting codes. This talented all-rounder, who is also competitive in athletics, soccer and table tennis, is described as ‘the definition of hard work and determination’.
The once-shy teenager now uses his Olympics status to encourage, inspire and motivate himself and those around him.
Old Mill High School
Young musician sets sights high
MULTI-instrumentalist Qiniso Mqadi (17) from Old Mill High School in Empangeni is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to his instrument-playing skills.
Passionate about music, the Grade 11 learner recently won the Crossroad Teen Talent Show after serenading the crowd with his guitar.
The teenage musician plays the guitar, bass and keyboard.
“I have a huge love for music and playing musical instruments,” said Qiniso.
Focused on the future, the teenage musician has made his very own timetable to balance his studies, music and downtime.
But his talents do not stop there as he is also a fierce academic who has placed in the top 10 achievers since Grade 3.
Despite music being his passion, Qiniso ensures he works hard at school, and hopes to one day become a business lawyer because a future in music is not guaranteed.
Richards Bay High School
Talented teen masters his martial arts
RICHARDS Bay High School learner Aryan Govender obtained his kickboxing colours and his brown belt this year, boosting his accolades in the martial arts.
The 14 year old, who strives to maintain a holistic approach to life, is motivated, well orientated and spiritual, with his sights set on achieving excellence in everything he does.
He thrives is his sport and extra curricular activities, especially hockey, kickboxing, swimming, and dancing.
The Grade 8 youngster joined the Warriors Academy at the age of seven as a white belt, under the supervision of Sensei Kenneth Hana.
Aryan’s hobbies include listening to orally told traditional stories, music, dancing and playing PlayStation.
He also enjoys the company of his friends, as well as playing soccer and the odd game of chess.
To balance his academics and sport, Aryan creates a schedule to manage his time and attempts to stick to this programme, despite it being tedious at times.
His ultimate goal is to get his blackbelt in kickboxing, and follow a career in the field of mechanical engineering.
Richards Bay High School
Erin shoots for the stars
WHILE most teenagers are focused on fashion, hairstyles and make-up, Richards Bay High School pupil Erin Ogram is in a lane of her own.
She strives to be the best version of herself in all aspects of academics and sport.
The Grade 8 pupil is a timid but respectful teenager with a focused mind and a goal to progress from good to great to unstoppable.
At 13, she juggles a tight schedule that includes netball, rugby, athletics, soccer, taekwon-do and functional fitness.
She began developing her sporting abilities from Grade 1 and has fuelled her desire to master the art of finding balance between her academics and sport. Her functional fitness and taekwondo training takes place in the comfort of her home where her parents have set up a gym with the necessary equipment.
Erin is passionate about sharing her talents and is also involved in training taekwondo to younger children with whom she displays extraordinary patience. With her sights set on becoming a biokineticist, her interest and achievement in sport will provide the building blocks to a successful career in the field.
An avid reader, Erin also enjoys listening to music while doing her daily chores.
Erin boasts numerous accolades
• King Cetshwayo District netball
• Soccer captain 2022
• Netball captain 2022
• Half colours – academics
• Half colours – netball
• Half colours – athletics
• Fellowship award
• Representative Council of Learners representative
• 2nd place javelin (KZN championships)
• 3rd place shot-put (KZN championships)
• 1st Dan black belt (taekwondo)
Empangeni High School
Zululand’s very own Serena
WIMBLEDON is all 16-year-old Anele Nkosi from Empangeni High School (EHS) envisions when she is on the tennis court.
Anele is no stranger to the tennis court, and has been swinging a racket since she was in Grade 7.
Now in Grade 11, this young tennis ace was recently selected to join the provincial team.
Anele flourishes at extramural activities and is part of the school’s extremely talented choir.
A fun fact about Anele is that she has a twin sister, Sane, who also plays tennis competitively.
Together the duo dominates their competition when playing a doubles match. With dreams of becoming a pro player and role model to young black girls,
Nkosi works tirelessly to perfect her sport.
Richem High School
Mind over matter for star athlete Lungiswa
CONFIDENCE is key for track competitor Lungiswa Buthelezi (16) from Richem High School.
The Grade 11 pupil, who recently competed for King Cetshwayo District in long jump at the KZN School Champs, hopes to one day represent her country at the Olympics.
She attributes her athletic success to hard work, discipline, and – most importantly – a strong mindset.
“Running on the track is an exhilarating feeling for me. Although my nerves do take hold of me sometimes, in those moments, the only thing I envision is my victory.” Lungiswa’s strong belief is how she is able to overcome her competitors.
Richards Bay High School
Storm loves a good challenge
RICHARDS Bay High School pupil Storm Henwood is a teen who enjoys a challenge and always strives to beat her personal best in academics, sport and extra-curricular activities.
The Grade 8 learner, who was deputy headgirl at Veldenvlei Primary School, has settled in well at high school where she was recently selected for the SRC to represent her classmates.
A keen sportswoman, Storm participated in athletics, hockey, soccer and chess, as well as in various subject Olympiads, orators, robotics and science expos.
She enjoys participating in fun runs, hiking, being outdoors and exploring nature.
Storm’s hobby is baking and she enjoys treating her family to delicious sweet treats. She was part of her primary school’s First Lego League Robotics team, The Sharks, and was set to tour the USA with the team in June for an international challenge, but will sadly not be joining them owing to her documents not being ready in time.
Teen makes move to master chess
EXCELLING in chess from a young age, Birdsview Academy pupil Trevyn Moonsamy attained his full KZN colours for the sport, recently competing for King Cetshwayo District at the SALGA Provincial Chess Games in Newcastle.
The Grade 11 chess star has represented KZN numerous times at the South African Junior Chess Championships, and is looking forward to attending this year’s event.
Although he plays volleyball and soccer, Trevyn’s first passion is chess, spending time competing online chess while listening to music.
His academics are never overlooked, however, and he strives to follow his study timetable – using his breaks to sharpen his chess skills or unwind with a film.
Looking ahead, the 16-year-old said he would like to become a doctor as well as a grand master of chess.
Empangeni High School
Xavier flying EHS flag high
EMPANGENI High School star pupil Xavier Moloi (17) is proving to be a jack of all trades, actively participating in several school sports, music and science activities.
The Grade 11 learner plays for the first team boys’ hockey side, is in the school band and is an active member of the Science Club.
While he aspires to become a software developer with the hopes of one day running his own company, he is flying the EHS flag high in science space.
He has been selected by Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) as an international vlogger/ ambassador representing South Africa.
Globe is an international science and education programme that provides students an opportunity to participate in data collection and the scientific process, while learning about earth systems and the environment.