Donald Rikhotso was named the Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund Boy of the year for 2018 but, he said, he’s not quite sure why.
“I don’t think I’m particularly special in any way, but I do love Jeppe and I’m very grateful to be here,” he said.
If anything, he conceded, he loves running around and being useful, helping wherever he can and it’s that attitude as much as anything else that got him the accolade, according to the Fund’s Ms Sharon Elmes.
“Service to the community and contribution to the school are two things we stress with our boys and Donald is enthusiastically involved with those,” she said. “He isn’t a sports star at the school, and he isn’t a top academic, but he puts his all into those aspects of school life, and he is available for every task and project that we ask the boys to get involved in.”
Donald’s story is a typical Theo Jackson Fund one. He is from Soweto, from a struggling family. In primary school he became involved with the Kliptown Youth Project where his potential was spotted by one of the facilitators who put him in touch with Jeppe and he was encouraged to write the school’s scholarship application exam. He was accepted, put on the programme and, according to Ms Elmes, he has lived up to every bit of that early promise.
“We get plenty of help along the way,” Donald said. “The fund has mentors in the hostels to take care of us and the teachers give us special attention if we need it, like they do for all Jeppe boys. I have been assigned a tutor to help me with English, which I am struggling with, and I’m on the Bravehearts, the school’s academic support programme for matrics.”
He realises that this year should be dedicated to his schoolwork so he has given up all extra-mural activities except for the Marimba band. “I played basketball and rugby before and even though I wasn’t very good at them, I enjoyed it. It’s all about making friends and spending time with them after all,” he said. “The Marimba band is what I really love. I think I’m quite musical and it gives me something outside of my books, so I’m carrying on with that.”
And he’ll be available for the community activities that the fund is involved in, and to help out whenever and wherever he is asked to. That’s why he is the Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund Boy of the Year.