A student against all odds

Zandile Mbabela mbabelaz@avusa.co.za

IT WAS an unbelievable experience for a first-year Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University student who attended his first nursing science lecture yesterday – something he thought could not happen in a million years.

Buhle Landu, 19, began his BCur nursing science programme yesterday after matriculating from Kwazakhele’s Qaphelani High School – which recorded a dismal matric pass rate of 18% last year.

Coming from a poor background, Buhle had no hopes of furthering his studies until he was approached by NMMU life management lecturer Ghauderen Coetzee-De Vos.

After reading a newspaper report about a fellow Qaphelani High matriculant, Noluthando Masimini – whose mother died, leaving her to look after a sick aunt and a sibling – Coetzee-De Vos went to the school to offer her help through a social responsibility project that her department undertakes every year.

When she got to the school, however, Noluthando’s results did not qualify her for university entrance. Coetzee-De Vos suggested enrolling her at a further education and training (FET) college.

“I then asked the principal please to suggest another pupil at the school who has the potential to be accepted at university.

“I was introduced to the maths teacher who then suggested Buhle,” she said.

After a full day of introductory lectures yesterday, Buhle could not contain his excitement about the first day of the rest of his life.

“Oh, it was just wonderful. I truly enjoyed myself with my classmates, who are all from different walks of life,” he said.

“I feel honoured and privileged to have been afforded this opportunity because not many like me get this chance.”

Buhle – who was separated from his mother at the age of seven and was raised by his father’s side of the family – had always wanted to go into the health sciences and wanted to be a doctor.

He lives with his younger brother and two aunts in a tiny two-bedroom flat at KwaNdokwenza hostel in Kwazakhele.

Despite having no hopes of tertiary education, Buhle “worked my butt off” to pass matric as he believed an education was what he needed to “break out of poverty”.

“When I was told I would be financed for varsity, I just did not have the words to thank those involved. I really am grateful and truly honoured,” he said.

Coetzee-De Vos got hold of premier Noxolo Kiviet’s office – after learning that the premier’s office had earlier adopted the school due to its poor performance last year – to finance Buhle’s studies.

If he passes this year, he can apply to the Health Department for further funding.

Coetzee-De Vos is trying to help Noluthando secure a study loan for a diploma course.

Read The Herald cover-to-cover online, including the comics, crosswords and classifieds. Try our e-Edition

Leave a Reply