A collaboration between Stellenbosch University (SU) and a non-governmental organisation that helps improve maths and science results at township schools has produced top-performing 2021 matriculant Karabo Dinelelo. The Soweto resident will be continuing his studies at the University this year, having enrolled for the MBChB programme.
In 2021, SU partnered with the Kutlwanong Centre for Maths, Science and Technology, which aims to grow and nurture talented young black professionals pursuing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers. The University’s contribution to the partnership included career and subject choice guidance.
Karabo joined Kutlwanong after some of his senior schoolmates had told him how the programme helped them improve their academic results. “Being exposed to a different learning style and an environment with tough competition kept me on my toes and encouraged me to work even harder,” he says. “The online classes also helped me cope and catch up on some lost content during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
His hard work certainly paid off. The Forte Secondary School learner went on to achieve eight distinctions in Setswana, English, Maths, Life Orientation, Accounting, Business Studies, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences.
He says identifying the right study methods and times is the first step to ensuring academic success. “Once you do that, studying becomes easier and less tiring. I made sure that I got enough sleep by not studying for long hours at night so that I had the chance to ‘dream’ about whatever I studied that day.”
Working “hard and smart”
Growing up in poverty in Meadowlands, Soweto, also motivated him to succeed. “My family background has encouraged me to work hard and smart to change our current situation at home,” Karabo says. “I believe one should harness your strengths to overcome your weaknesses and prosper in life.”
He is grateful to his parents, Quinton and Eunice, and sisters Kgomotso and Katlego for always supporting him. “From always being my cheerleaders, to making compromises such as using money meant for bread to pay for my taxi fare on rainy days – their love and support have made a big difference in my life.”
Explaining his decision to enrol for medicine, he says: “Being a doctor is something I’ve been interested in from a young age. Being able to help someone directly and make their life better and more enjoyable is what makes me want to pursue this career. I want to lend a helping hand to South Africa’s growing population and ensure that most, if not all, of us live happy and healthy lives.”
He says he is ready and excited to be a part of the Matie family. “As much as being far from home is a bit scary, I believe that studying at Stellenbosch University will expose me to different and new environments and opportunities, and will also help me become more independent.”