Born in the small village of Sefhare and living in the low income location of Distance in Selebi-Phikwe, Esther Modise has dispelled the myth that only children from well off families and living in suburbs can do well in studies.
The 18-year-old has opened a ray of hope for those students who believed that their family background can determine their futures. She did not even go to day care centre or some fancy and expensive school but studied at government school.
The former student of Selebi-Phikwe Senior Secondary School is the best student in Botswana with 8* and 1A. In an interview with Voice reporter Phillimon Mmeso, Esther reveals how she managed to achieve her success. As the brainiest person in Botswana, Esther shows her mettle by even discussing politics and offering advice to the opposition.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
Congratulations on passing your fantastic examination results in the Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE)
Thank you very much!
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Esther Modise and was born in Sefhare but grew up in Selebi- Phikwe and did all my schooling here. I live with both parents Thatego Modise and father Ezekiel Muzhinge. I’m the second born and my younger sister is doing standard seven. I did my primary school at Boswelakgomo primary school and my junior schooling at Makhubu JSS where I got distinction and was admitted to Selebi-Phikwe Senior Secondary School in 2010.
So being the best student in the country didn’t surprise you?
I knew that I would do well but did not expect to be the best in the country. I believe it was the fruit of working hard and being determined in life. The encouragement and the support I got from my parents, teachers and fellow students also played a pivotal role.
That is great, so what strategies did you use to study for examinations?
I drew a study timetable while still in form four and followed it to the letter. I also had syllabuses for different subjects so that I could know what we will be doing in the next lesson. If there was something I did not understand I asked other students as well as teachers for help. The cardinal thing for me was dedication and determination and they really drove me to this achievement.
Did you study alone or had study groups?
I had study group which we started in Form four and also in class we formed groups during study time to discuss different topics.
And how did your study mates perform?
They have all done well as most of them attained 45 points and above and I believe it was the results of the study groups.
Did you have any positions of responsibility at Senior Secondary school?
No I was not a prefect nor a monitor. I was only involved in mathematics and science club and a member of scripture union.
Some people believe that being intelligent means that you are big headed and anti-social. What is your take on that?
Sometimes you can be intelligent but fail to achieve your goals and you need other people in order to nurture your intelligence. As a person you have to socialize and you can’t achieve your goals if you do not interact with your peers. I have friends that I shared ideas with and they are part of my success. After the results came out I went to my friends and thanked them for helping me pass my examinations. I don’t think that was being big headed do you?
No you were not. There was a strike last year by civil servants and most people believed that it has negatively affected the performance of students. How did you manage to perform well amidst limited time of teaching?
When most students looked at the strike in a negative way I saw it as an opportunity to study on my own since I had the syllabuses. I used the time for lessons to study and research rather than moan and groan about the absence of teachers. The most important thing for me was self-discipline.
How did you deal with peer pressure?
I never had problem with peer pressure because I do not subscribe to the notion of pleasing people. I do everything for God and not for any human person. I spent my spare time either at home helping my
parents or at church.
Do you have any role models?
My biggest role model is God. There are many people who had mentored me in life but my pastor is the best since he encouraged us to study hard and not only rely on God’s grace. He is a determined and dedicated man. There are two teachers who have been by mentors who I would like to name – Ma Ramothwa and Omphile.
My parents have a special place in my heart for their love and support. No one can take their place because they moulded me into the person you see now.They are just okay and I do not believe in that notion because you need to work hard to do well in life. My parents are not that educated so you see the belief that it runs in the family does not work. It is only your dedication and determination that does the trick.
What next for Esther in terms of tertiary education and what course do you want to do and at which university?
I really like business so I want to study finance and mine engineering since I am good at mathematics and sciences. For tertiary it has to be Oxford University in England. I have done research about it and feel that it is the right university for me.
There is a great concern in the society that when students go to tertiary institution they start to drink and get involved in social ills. How are you going to avoid it?
Like I told you earlier my role model is God and with him I won’t go wrong. He guided me when I moved from junior secondary to senior secondary. With the discipline and determination nothing will derail me.
Now let us talk politics, what is your opinion on the collapse of the umbrella talks and do you think our opposition has chance to win the elections?
The challenge they are facing is that it seems they did not have the same vision and mission. They must find something good and common amongst themselves and build their cooperation from there. As for winning elections I don’t know.
And the current government under the leadership of President Ian Khama?
He is doing well and has the interest of Batswana at heart. His poverty eradication programme shows that Khama cares about his fellow Batswana and wants to alleviate them from poverty.
Any advice to the current students
They must study hard and be determined. They must make God their focal point and should never lose hope.
Your father just informed me that you have refused presents and the party that was supposed to be hosted in your honour. Why?
I never studied to get presents or to have parties. I am still on a journey so can’t celebrate while searching for my future.
FULL NAMES: Esther Modise
DATE OF BIRTH: 05/06/1993
PLACE OF BIRTH: Sefhare
HOBBIES: reading and listening to gospel