National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Reginald Dhlamini

Reginald comes from Gauteng and is currently studying BSc (Chemical Engineering) at Wits University


Don’t choose based on salary or status. Apply to as many universities as possible, and the earlier the better.


Tell us a bit about your school

Reginald comes from Gauteng and is currently studying BSc (Chemical Engineering) at Wits University Tell us more about your school My school is Mohloli Secondary and it is based in Sharpeville (Vereeniging) which is a small township in an urban area. In 2013 approximately 1 200 pupils were enrolled, with 118 of them in grade 12. This year 1 334 pupils are enrolled and 143 of them are in grade 12. What is special about my school is that it has best of the best teachers with academic support. It produced a higher rate of passing relative to other township schools. It does not only excel in academics but also in sport, such as soccer. The school encourages learners to do mathematics and physical sciences.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered at school that made it difficult for you to excel in maths and science? What did you do to overcome these challenges?

I did not encounter many challenges in maths and science, the only thing that I remember that made it hard for me to excel was pressure and stress. With the support from my parents, teachers and friends I managed to pull it through. I prayed and I believed in myself. My parents always told me that if I want something in life I will get it. I just learnt to manage my time well to balance maths and science and this helped to reduce stress and pressure.

What advice do you have for matriculants who have to apply for places at higher education institutions?

My advice to them is that they must be wise in choosing a career path, and choose something that matches their personality. Don’t choose based on salary or status. Apply to as many universities as possible, and the earlier the better.

Where do you see yourself five years from now, in terms of your studies/career?

I see myself working as a professional engineer at Randwater.

When/how did you realise you enjoyed science and mathematics more than your other school subjects? Did anyone play an important part in this, such as a teacher, parent or other role models?

I realised that I enjoyed science in grade 11; my fondness for mathematics came from grade 8 – I always enjoyed mathematics. I always look up to my brothers, and since they did mathematics and science at school I told myself that I also wanted to do science-related subjects. My parents are the people who also encouraged me to do science-related courses, saying that they open up the door of many options in life in terms of profession.

What/who inspires you?

My three brothers inspire me. Two are technicians and graduated from Vaal University of Technology, and one is just finishing his BTech in IT this year, in VUT as well. My other inspiration is Kagiso Nkumbi, a friend of mine who is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Dental Science at WITS.

Why did you choose the course you are studying now?

There are many opportunities that come with engineering, especially in South Africa. I did some research on engineering courses while I was in grade 12 and it was stated that engineers are in demand. I also hope to create or invent something as a chemical engineer that is going to make life better someday.

Any other stories/tips/ideas/advice you would like to share that would be helpful to learners in Grades 11 and 12?

Early preparation, prioritisation and time management are three key concepts of success. Start as early as grade 11 to focus on your studies because the grade 11 results are the ones that are mostly used for application. Learners must not procrastinate, they must utilise their time very wisely. Know what you want in life and find a way to get it. It is important to be disciplined and respectful to your studies. Remember, ”luck comes when opportunity meets preparation.”

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