Shooting out the lights: Nande Popo is Engen’s number one

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“Discipline gets people to the top,” says Nande Popo, Engen Maths and Science School’s top learner for 2022, who is on a determined path to fulfill her dream of becoming a medical doctor.

An alumnus of Mfuleni High School in Cape Town, Nande bagged seven distinctions for matric – including 97% for Maths, 92% for Science and 87% for English.

Living by the mantra, my best is enough, Nande’s impressive matric marks have secured her a coveted place to study medicine at the University of Cape Town in 2023.

The oldest of 5 children, Nande lives with her mother in Mfuleni township.

Her vision for the future is to inspire other children to dream.

“Growing up I suffered a lot from anxiety but fortunately I found coping mechanisms to deal with it.

“I often start my day with positive affirmations and by setting a positive mindset through journaling.”

Her advice for the matric class of 2023 is to work hard and never give up on your dreams!

“Be disciplined and know what you are working towards. 

“Cling to that vision when things get tough and speak about your challenges when you are feeling overwhelmed”.

Nande says the free Engen Maths and Science School supplementary classes that she attended every Saturday in Grade 12 provided her with crucial insights in Maths, Physical Science and English, “which really assisted me to reach my full potential.”

“The EMSS extra lessons exposed me to excellent teachers who revised concepts and we practised past papers which was very helpful.”

“We also received textbooks, detailed notes and past papers with memo’s which was very useful.”

The Engen Maths and Science Schools have run for over 35 years, and offer underprivileged grade 10-12 learners free supplementary Maths, Science and English tuition on Saturdays at ten locations across South Africa.

Engen’s manager of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, Dr James Nyawera explains that the EMSS programme focuses specifically on providing extra tuition in “gateway” subjects such as mathematics and science.

“These subjects are considered critical in addressing the country’s technical and engineering skills shortage as well as spurring economic growth and development,” says Nyawera.

“The EMSS programme seeks to harness the potential of talented young people in difficult circumstances and to also contribute to the pool of scarce skills in the country,” he adds.

“The programme has worked tirelessly to help transform young underprivileged people’s lives, with a focus of creating a diverse and vibrant workforce.”

Engen is incredibly proud of Nande and all EMSS learners who completed matric in 2022, often despite extremely trying circumstances.