The single mother was going to write the matric exams next to her son, but the 17-year-old died suddenly at the beginning of the year.
Cape Town – Delft single mother Tania Februarie, 35, would have been writing her matric exams alongside her son, Jaden, 17, but is instead sitting the finals in his memory and honour after his sudden death earlier this year.
And today, with the school honouring his legacy, she will hand over the Jaden Februarie History Award – Jaden’s favourite subject – to the top history pupil at Belhar High School’s valedictory service.
Februarie returned to the school benches 17 years later in the hope of inspiring and motivating Jaden, who was a matriculant at Belhar High School. She is now completing her matric alone after Jaden died in February after contracting a respiratory infection.
“I fell pregnant with Jaden in matric at the age of 17 and my results were incomplete that year. I had to look after him and after getting a permanent job I just never went back.
“It was always in the back of my mind to go back but I never got that far. However, when I realised that my son would be in matric this year, I wanted to inspire and motivate him and that’s when I decided to finally enrol during 2019 to complete my national senior certificate,” said Februarie.
An emotional Februarie said when she shared with Jaden that she enrolled for matric, he was “very excited”.
“Although I am Jaden’s mother, he was my inspiration. He was very excited that we would be doing our matric exams together and I’m sure he would have been so proud,” said Februarie.
Attending her own valedictory service at the weekend, Februarie said she held back tears as she was reminded that this was a special moment she would have shared with her son.
“When Jaden died I was comforted that his purpose on Earth was fulfilled. Although it felt like my world was falling apart, I could not give up. There is a time and season for everything and my season is now.
“Studies have been hectic, especially while dealing with my grief. The subjects I am doing now are not what I had at school so everything is new. He would have been so proud,” said Februarie.
Her journey this year came with other challenges too, including contracting Covid-19, but after “growing spiritually and deepening my relationship with God, I have more answers than questions,” she said.
Jaden’s history teacher, Carol Cyster, said Jaden was an excellent learner.