As Michelle Obama said, ‘It is absolutely still possible to make a difference.’ And you, Thuli, my special sister, will definitely go on to make a difference. Congratulations on passing matric with flying colours. We are all so proud of you.

But, as many of you here will know, it wasn’t always a straight forward path for her. Thuli’s love of life and great sense of humour sometimes led her astray in her pursuit of academic success. Do you remember that time when you were in Grade 9 and your maths teacher complained about you so often? I remember you coming home with stories about how you and your friends laughed throughout your class, teasing each other and not really paying attention. Mom was horrified! And you nearly didn’t get the marks you needed to get into pure Maths in Grade 10.

That lesson, though, led to those Grade 11 and 12 times when we were all a bit worried about you. You worked really hard and seemed so stressed sometimes. I got to see the sacrifices that you made to be successful and I’m sorry that I used to nag you to spend time with me. I know some of your friends here tonight pleaded with you to go partying on a Saturday night but, no, you were all focus.

But, in the end, it was all worth it, Thandi. Look at you sparkling here tonight. Your future is shining brightly and as the saying goes, ‘the world is your oyster’. Go out and make the difference that Michelle Obama referred to.