Beating Leukaemia and passing matric

Beating leukaemia in my matric year: Neo Rakuba’s story

My name is Neo Rakuba, and I matriculated with the class of 2017. They say that your matric year is a hard one… I didn’t know just how hard it was going to be.

In 2016, it seemed as though everything was going well for me when I was elected as head boy of my school, Curro’s Meridian Rustenburg. As the year gradually progressed, I fell ill – an illness that I could not shake. After numerous visits to the doctors, I was diagnosed with leukaemia that April and spent the rest of the year in hospital undergoing chemotherapy and other medical support. I then had to be moved to Steve Biko hospital in Pretoria when my life was in grave danger.

Yet despite my unfortunate fate, I never let my spirits fail me. I responded well to the chemotherapy treatments and I went on to beat the cancer – triumphantly returning to school to finish Grade 12. Suddenly, matric didn’t seem so tough anymore!

My hard work paid off at the end of 2017, as I matriculated with an overall average of 71.43% – achieving notably great results in English First Additional Language, Mathematics, Computer App Technology, Physical Sciences and Life Orientation.

Even though I was completely isolated during parts of my treatment, I never lost hope. I never saw myself as having leukaemia. I just tried to maintain a positive mind-set, forever smiling and never blaming anyone for the disease.

I feel very proud of what I’ve achieved, and am incredibly excited for my next chapter where I’ll be studying a B.Com (Marketing) at the University of Johannesburg in 2018.

Video note:

A grandmother’s proudest moment – During Curro’s annual Top Achievers prize-giving event held on 13 January 2018 at Emperor’s Palace, Neo’s grandmother recited traditional Tswana poetry of praise as Rakuba walked to the stage. “It was painful to see Neo so sick, and doctors said that he will never be able to write matric. But, he pulled through and he went on to finish grade 12. I am incredibly proud of him,” she said.