Sky’s the Limit for Cum Laude Graduate
Being an orphan and often not having money for food were some of the serious challenges Mr Nhlakanipho Mbambo had to overcome on the road to completing his BSc degree in Crop and Horticultural Sciences, which was awarded cum laude.
Mbambo received eight merit certificates and was named the 2016 AR Saunders Dux student in Agricultural and Dietetics programmes in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES).
Mbambo grew up in Umlazi and attended Brettonwood High School.
When enrolling for his studies, he relied on financial support from relatives, who scraped together what they could to pay for his registration and residence accommodation. In his second year he received a scholarship from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science and financial assistance in third year.
Mbambo said the challenges made him strong and he embraced the opportunity to learn the importance of self-discipline and determination. Encountering a love for plant sciences in high school Biology, Mbambo decided to pursue a degree in the field.
He found university a daunting but welcome challenge, saying the key to his success was the setting of short and long term goals. With a lack of strong training in the Physical Sciences, Mbambo had to work hard at those subjects, but thanks to the support of caring lecturers and his positive attitude, he succeeded.
Mbambo relishes the opportunity to get involved in different projects and assist where he can – he has volunteered for Cape Parrot Working Group activities, working as a research assistant.
He is involved in student activities - his first love is drama and the performing arts, which he participates in at every opportunity. He hopes one day to complete a degree in the dramatic arts. He has participated in Student Christian Fellowship (SCF) activities, and as a member of the Golden Key Honour Society has taken part in activities like a clean-up walk involving society members as well as annual biodiversity days.
Mbambo is the recipient of a Talent Excellence and Equity Scholarship, which sets him on a course to academia. He plans to pursue his studies to PhD level and beyond. Despite the expectations this places on him, Mbambo is up to the task and eager to move forward.
His Honours project, supervised by Dr Lembe Magwaza, is on the topic of the potential storage of newly introduced potato cultivars.
The well-rounded Mbambo acknowledged friends Nqobile Shandu and Mookho Motloung for their motivation and support, and credited Simangele Msweli for inspiring him to achieve a cum laude result. Mbambo, who has big dreams for the future, does not believe in limiting himself.
‘If they’ve found water on Mars, why should I limit myself to the sky?’ he asks.
‘We thank the Lord Almighty for students like this,’ said the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science’s Principal Academic Administrative Officer, Ms Loveness Ndlovu. ‘He showed that poverty does not stop you from achieving your goals.’