Ten Reasons South Africa Doesn’t Suck Right Now – April 2017 Edition

In the wake of a few tumultuous political happenings, April was a good month. The leaves started changing colour, and graduation season went into full-swing, both of which were beautiful to see. There are plenty of reasons to be proudly South African right now – here’s your latest list why.

1. The student who obtained 24 distinctions in his degree

B Pharm honours student Keaton Harris has performed amazingly, graduating summa cum laude from the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The first in his family to attend university, Keaton grew up with his single mother. He worked hard and persevered, and was the valedictorian of his class.

Although rejected numerous times from studying medicine, he is trying again and applying for 2018. Get it!

2. The first black woman in Africa to graduate cum laude in biotechnology

Sinazo Bali (23), an East London born researcher, studied the physiological and biochemical responses of the chia plant at UWC. She says her supervisor Dr Ashwil Klein introduced her and fellow lab mates to the plant Chia. When the plant was found to be more drought resistant than other plants like maize, he suggested creating a dedicated database for their research.

She is continuing to slay, studying toward her master’s degree in biotechnology at the university.

In a university statement, Sinazo said she is really proud of herself for being the first black African female to graduate cum laude in Biotechnology.


3. The PhD student whose abstract was read out in Sepedi

Anastacia Mamabolo was named best MBA student at the University of Limpopo in 2012, and also won the best MBA research report award. Her PhD dissertation, exploring the relationship between human capital and entrepreneurship, took her passion for entrepreneurship further.

At her graduation from Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) at the University of Pretoria, she had her abstract read out in Sepedi, her mother tongue.

4. Woolworths CEO wins international women’s award

Woolworths SA CEO Zyda Rylands recently won Woman of the Year at the World Retail Congress’ International Women in Retail ceremony. Not only did she stand “head and shoulders above her competitors,” according to the award givers, but she was the first ever winner of the award!

5. The University of Pretoria student who graduated at 19 years old

It wasn’t always easy for Quintine Mkhondo – his unemployed father had to sell his taxi in order to pay for his fees – but after starting his degree at University of Pretoria at age 15, he has now graduated. He now tutors at his Tuks, and is also currently working towards his honours degree. Later he plans on being an entrepreneur and starting a company. Let it never be said that teenagers lack focus!

6. The PhD written entirely in Xhosa

Hleze Kunju achieved an historical feat when he graduated from the University Currently Known as Rhodes with his PhD – written entirely in Xhosa.

Kunju’s PhD, IsiXhosa ulwimi lwabantu abangesosininzi eZimbabwe: Ukuphila nokulondolozwa kwaso [Xhosa as a Minority Language in Zimbabwe: Survival and Maintenance], looks at amaXhosa living in Zimbabwe and the worrying lack of literature about them. “In the thesis, I have tried to let them tell their own stories rather than me talking about them,” he said.

7. The North West University (NWU) student who just graduated with her PhD at 23

Musawenkhosi Saurombe graduated with her PhD in industrial psychology from NWU this past month – with zero corrections! Saurombe matriculated at the age of 15 and started a BComm degree at 16. Honours degree at 19, master’s degree – with distinction – at 21: this young woman means business.

She now teaches and supervises postgraduate students at NWU’s campus in Mahikeng but intends spending time abroad this year attending academic conferences.


8. The hair extensions company helping a qualified law student pay off her student debt

Nesia Chido is a law student who completed her degree at Wits, but never received it because of debt she owed to the university. When Clip In Hair received a job application from her, applying for a cleaning position, they were stumped: why would a qualified law student want to be a cleaner? They called her in for an interview and found out that she was trying to earn money to pay off her debt, and decided to help her raise the money. Within a couple of days, she managed to reach get R53 000 mark!

9. The gifted South African who made history in US Major League Baseball (MLB)

Mpho Gift Ngoepe made his MLB debut at the end of April, and while we don’t understand baseball, we are always here for excellence and representation! He’s the first black South African to sign a professional baseball contract, and we can’t wait to see what he does.


10. All the public holidays

We love April, every year. In addition to Easter weekend and the extra days off, we also get to remember the historic events of 27 April 1994 by sleeping in and not going to work.

We are always here for a lie-in. April, you will be sorely missed.


Featured image via Wikimedia Commons