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Monday, April 15, 2024

25-year-old man who worked as a petrol attendant to sponsor his education wins scholarship, graduates as a Medical Doctor

A 25-year-old man named Ntando Makhubela who worked as a petrol attendant to sponsor his education won a scholarship to the university and graduated as a Medical Doctor.

Ntando is from  Nelspruit, South Africa, and won a scholarship from the Mpumalanga Health Department in South Africa to study medicine in Cuba. Women in Africa reported that he had it rough growing up.

He graduated from  Cyril Clarke Secondary School in 2014 with distinctions in Maths, Biology, and Physics but could not afford to go to university because of financial problems.

Ntando stated that he applied to study at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa to study medicine but he was not accepted to study medicine despite having applied for a bursary. 

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“Becoming a doctor has always been my dream. I fell in love with the biological sciences, which I found so intriguing and very relevant to the country, given the shortage of medical personnel,” Ntando said.

“I did apply at the University of the Witwatersrand but they didn’t take me for the course in medicine that I wanted and I had a bursary as well. They told me they were full and couldn’t take more students,” he added.

He added that he enrolled for a bachelor of science and was in the university for two weeks but had to drop out because of financial instability. “I was studying a Bachelor of Science for two weeks and then I decided to come back home because I had to pay for myself and I didn’t have money,” he said.


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Ntando returned home to Nelspruit where he lived with his mother and younger sister. In May 2015 he started working as a petrol attendant to support himself and his family.

He mentioned that it was when he was working as a petrol attendant that the chairperson of the African National Congress who was aware of his excellent performance in high school approached him and gave him a scholarship application form.

Ntando applied and was offered a scholarship by the Mpumalanga Health Department to study medicine in Cuba. He stated that his first year in the foreign country was used to learn the Spanish language.

“In 2016, I received a scholarship from the Mpumalanga Health Department and was part of a group of 56 students from the province traveling to Cuba to study medicine. I only really started studying medicine in 2017, as the first year is spent learning Spanish,” he said.

The Mpumalanga Health Department offers scholarships for students who want to study medicine in Cuba. These scholarships provide an opportunity for South African students, specifically those from Mpumalanga, to pursue medical education in Cuba.

Ntando said after graduation, he plans to promote primary health care and ensure that health is prioritized nationwide, reaching out to those in remote rural areas, offering health education and development, and giving people insights into lifestyle choices that impact their health.  

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