Jeppe High School for Girls Book Handover

Jeppe High School for Girls Dr EM Taban

Jeppe High School for Girls Book Handover by Dr Emmanuel Taban

Jeppe High School for Girls held its annual prize-giving for 2020 on March 19. It was a special occasion for a number of reasons. 2020 was an extremely difficult year for both learners and staff due to the pandemic and the resulting interruptions to the academic calendar.

As the school celebrated the efforts of the 2020 matriculants earlier this year, teachers, staff and fellow learners also celebrated last year’s Grade 11s, 10s, Nines and Eights who managed to keep afloat and those who excelled.

Ever mindful of the medical staff and healthcare workers who have been fighting to save lives while putting their own at risk during the pandemic, the school was thrilled to find out that one of the doctors who has been recognised as breaking new medical ground was in fact a Jeppe Old Boy, Dr Emmanuel Taban.

His own life story is one of never giving up under severe circumstances. And so he asked for the opportunity to honour the learners who overcame the challenges of 2020.

Mr Tait, business manager of the school and former headmaster of Jeppe Boys, introduced Taban by reading out the headmaster’s award he presented to Taban in 1998. The award was for his courage and determination to triumph over immense adversity. Taban was at Jeppe Boys for his Grade 12 year in 1998. After reading out the original citation, he presented Taban with a framed copy of the award.

Dr Taban gave an inspiring speech at Jeppe High School for Girls on Friday afternoon. It was also a very special moment when his former principal at Jeppe High School for Boys, Mr Kevin Tait, presented him with the headmaster’s special award which recognises extraordinary achievement in the midst of adversity.

In his address, Taban shared his story. He said it seems like a fictional story to come from sleeping on pavements to being a doctor. He has been recently celebrated by the medical fraternity for groundbreaking Covid-19 treatment and was named one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2020 by London-based New African magazine.

But he is not used to all this attention. “I am a simple man at heart.” He encouraged the girls not to rely on luck, but on hard work. He said it is passion and determination that will shape their lives. “Passion cannot be bought or faked, but if you are driven by passion and not money you will succeed,” said Taban.

The prize-giving ceremony and the 93rd annual Jeppe flower show were dedicated to thanking medical teams for risking their lives. Taban and his wife, Motheo, presented Evelyn Mabussi and Margaret Peterson with R7 500 each for their educational journey.

These girls never gave up during the lockdown periods and showed extraordinary resilience despite the challenges they faced. Precious Idana, Bongi Mlangeni, Athena Papoutsis and Amy Wallace were also awarded R2 500 each for their resilience during this time.

The girls were all given a copy of Taban’s recently launched book, The Boy Who Never Gave Up (Jonathan Ball Publishers). Taban then presented the 2020 subject prizes for Grade 11 and 10 and the merit certificates for Grade 11, 10, Nine and Eight.

Jeppe Girls was also recognised as the best-performing public school in the Johannesburg East District in the National Senior Certificate Awards on March 19.

Thank you to Headmistress Dina Goncalves for the invitation and warm welcome.

Photographer @ Darrell Fraser

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