Picture: LAUREN MULLIGAN
Here’s what went down:
Sipho refuses to burn out in quest for matric
While the pupils of Thaba Jabula Secondary School, Soweto, were in the playground enjoying their second break, legendary musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse was in the principal’s office inquiring about his matric results.
Last year Mabuse, 61, enrolled for six subjects at the school’s adult education centre, harbouring hopes of completing his matric.
In 1968, when he was in Form 4 (Grade 11), Mabuse left high school to pursue a music career with African soul band The Beaters.
Despite having a successful music career that has kept him financially stable and enabled him to tour the world, Mabuse says he’s always had a yearning to complete his studies.
"At the back of my head there’s always been this voice reminding me that I didn’t write my matric exams," said Mabuse.
"I’ve learned that, with education, you develop confidence. It helps you interact with your peers and you get to learn things that can help you in your personal life, like how to manage your finances."
After passing four of the six subjects that he had enrolled for earlier this year, Mabuse returned to Thaba Jabula to re-write history and geography and to register for business economics.
"In the music business we deal a lot with business economics. I felt that it was necessary for me to understand the dynamics of economics because, as artists, we deal with taxes, marketing and sales issues but very few artists do so with knowledge and understanding - that’s why so many die paupers," said Mabuse.
The musician was disappointed when the principal of the adult education centre told him that his results hadn’t arrived.
"The department says that we should wait until July 27 but they might speed up the process seeing as so many people are eager to find out about Hotstix’s results," joked principal Jappie Masombuka.
He said Mabuse’s pursuit of his matric has inspired everyone in the school.
"Our pupils, his peers at our adult education centre and the teachers have all been touched by his determination to get an education.
"It has motivated some of our scholars to work harder, and the teachers and parents to think about picking up the dreams that they abandoned," said Masombuka.
When The Times interviewed Mabuse earlier this year, he said that, once he had completed his matric, he would fulfil two more dreams - studying anthropology at “a university like Fort Hare” and writing a book about African music and cultures.
When asked what marks he hoped to get on his report card, Mabuse responded: “I know how much work I put in . I’m expecting to pass”- Refilwe Boikanyo For The Times, South Africa