She was supposed to be doing Form 5 this year, but because she was simply too good for words, she wrote her Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Examinations (BGCSE) in 2014 and not a year later.
Seventeen-year-old Dimpho ‘Mme’ Gosenyang was in the thick of things at Naledi Senior Secondary School in Gaborone as she sat for the examinations with other candidates, most of who were a year her senior.
Not surprisingly, the brain that did not do Standard 7 was gifted enough to be crowned the overall best 2014 BGSCE performer. The Sirius star could not wait to glow next year when the 2015 results are published. It seems its glow could not wait to radiate.
In 2009, while a pupil at Day Spring Primary School in Tlokweng, her teachers and parents consented that she sit for the Standard 7 exam without setting foot in that class.
Almost six years later, that decision proved it was not a mistake. The eloquent, vibrant and thoughtful girl from Tlokweng has worked all her basic education life to see this day become a reality.
The Monitor caught up with the genius at her Masetlheng home in the Batlokwa capital on Friday. When Dimpho heard that the examinations body had released the results last Tuesday, she itched to know whether her own grading was true.
However, she could not find the courage to open the short message service (SMS) that her elder sister sent to her containing her grades.
“I got a notification on my phone, and I knew those were my grades as my sister had just promised to send them,” she said. “I was scared to open the SMS, I just sat for some time without touching it,” Dimpho added. She cried both tears of joy and sadness. Having 7A*s, an A and B to her name, you would wonder why she shed tears of sadness. But, she did still.
“I am very sad that I didn’t attain an A* for Maths. It’s my favourite subject, and compared to the rest, I found Maths very easy and fun,” she said.
Further, she had a good connection with Maths, as “it is the only subject that you can always be sure about your answers, unlike English or the rest where opinion mattered.”
The determined teenager said she could do her sums anywhere she found herself, be it in a bus; and this level of preparedness in her view, was not supposed to attract anything below A*.
Despite this, she is elated to be the star. Asked what her formula for success was, Dimpho explained that her gateway to this sterling results was that every place was school and any moment was precious enough to advance her academic aspirations. “I dedicated my time to school work, in addition to using lots of studying techniques,” she said.
“I used past BGCSE papers for revision, and I was always willing to volunteer to explain concepts to other learners because I had realised that I grasped any content better when I explain it over and over to others,” said Dimpho.
She has found convergence in conventional learning and smart education as enabled by technological shifts in the sense that she records herself when going through concepts she found tricking. Afterwards, she plays the audio for revision purposes. The focused star wants to study medicine specialising in pediatric neurosurgery. Commenting on national exams performance decline, Dimpho said problems would always arise and it was up to the key stakeholder in learning- the student, to see to it that they realise their dreams despite prevailing challenges.
“I have heard on the local media that pass rates continue to decline. I think that students need to realise that of all stakeholders in education, they are key.
“A student needs to decide what he or she wants and go for it despite external challenges, because problems will forever be there,” advised Dimpho.
In addition, she said students needed to network with peers in other schools around the country utilising the digital media, which has killed the barrier of distance. “I networked a lot with other students from all over the country, we compared notes and I would tell my teachers what I found out from others,” she said.
She stressed that learners had to develop a cordial relationship with teachers because if they feared them, they would not be in a position to benefit from the teachers’ expertise.
“We need to respect our teachers, but we must not be scared of them to an extent that we do not seek help and clarity whenever we do not understand something,” she advised.
She attributed her achievement to God, without whom, she says, it could not have been possible to achieve such superb BGCSE results.
Fifty one-year-old (51) Ntombi Gosenyang is a retired telecommunications engineer, and a mother of four girls. Dimpho is her last-born child.
Now into farming and property development, after working for Botswana Telecommunications for over two decades, Mma Gosenyang is very excited to have yet another top achiever in her home. In 2010, her other daughter Lesego came fourth in BGCSE countrywide.
And this is how the Gosenyang’s have managed to excel academically: “The way I motivate them from the onset is to make them realise that as girls they are more vulnerable if they have not achieved in their studies,” explained Gosenyang.
While a proponent of marriage, she said in today’s world it was essential for women to be learned as that equipped them, and enabled them to be independent.
Stephen Gosenyang, her husband has a degree in locomotive engineering and has worked for Botswana Railways for years.
The fact that both parents did not leave school at “tea break” has had a huge impact in her excellence, according to Mma Gosenyang.
“I think an educated parent understands how best to create a conducive learning environment for their children.
“We believe that a student must not be denied basic commodities such as shelter and comfort at home, learners need to eat well, and that they need time to study,” she said. However, this does not mean Dimpho was a spoilt teen with an aversion to household chores.
“She and her siblings perform household chores. It is just that whenever any of my children is sitting for mock exams, and other national papers, they are given time off from household tasks in order to give them adequate time to study,” she said, adding that she was very active in assisting with assignments.
As a farmer, she said there were times when she got too tired and just wanted to put her signature on Dimpho’s assignment sheet without checking the quality of work, but the responsible and accountable 17 year old star never allowed that to happen.
Above all, her mantra is that discipline is the mother of excellence in any given work. In today’s world, Gosenyang said that children are very fragile, sensitive and generally lack discipline and good morals. “Our generation was very different. Our parents trusted us, we were left alone in the village while elders were at the fields, but we never absconded from school or behaved as young people do today,” she said. Dimpho and her three siblings were brought up under strict enforcement of discipline and responsibility. They have been taught that independence was the greatest achievement in life, and that without education, one would not be independent.
“I have groomed my children to understand that there were two phases in an individual’s life; and these are childhood and adulthood. As an adult at 25 years, they had to leave home whether working or not to fend for themselves,” she said.