National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Mulovhedzi Tovhowani (studying Medicine)

Mulovhedzi Tovhowani is from Limpopo. She is studying Medicine at the University of Pretoria.

Nothing will be handed to you on a silver platter. To be successful, you must work hard… No one controls your destiny other than yourself.

Tell us a bit about your school.

I went to a school called Thohoyandou Secondary school. Even though it’s not a privileged school with a glaring lack of proper facilities like a science lab, it produces good academic results annually. My time at school is one of my best memories. The level of support my teachers offered was overwhelming. They always made time to help me with anything that I required. The friendships that I made in high school make the experience more memorable and I met a lot of different characters that I will never forget. The school I went to didn’t have the proper facilities. It was quite a challenge for me seeing that I was interested in science… but the lack of a science lab and inability to perform experiments was frustrating. I overcame this by looking on the internet for experiments that had to be done at school and I would write my reports from the internet.

Why did you enjoy science and mathematics?

Even though I would try to give all my subjects equal attention, maths and science always managed to take up most of my time. I wouldn’t even realise it because I enjoyed studying them so much that it didn’t feel like studying anymore. With maths and science I always went an extra mile to try and understand the concepts. Sometimes I would even venture outside the scope of the curriculum. I enjoyed that because they were a bit challenging and required one to think a lot. With maths and science you always discover different things. My maths and science teachers played a very important role in this. They always encouraged me and showed a great deal of faith in me…more than I had in myself. They always made time for me. They nurtured my love for the subjects, and they gave me text books and question papers, whatever I needed.

Any tips for learners in Grades 11 and 12?

Work hard, focus, be dedicated and ALWAYS ASK FOR HELP WHEN NEEDED. I remember during my high school days I was forever in the staffroom, clearing any confusion that I had. this really helped me understand most of the work better, as well as boosting my confidence.

Who inspires you?

I am inspired by wanting to be the best in everything that I do. I want to have a feeling of fulfilment in everything that I do. This passion drives me to always work hard and not to give up.

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

Choose subjects that will enable you to do what you love. You must be well-informed about your career choice and its requirements. Most importantly make sure you are passionate about it. Finding funding can be frustrating and a very difficult task. Do not give up, just keep applying and eventually something will turn up. Working hard and getting good results makes finding funding very easy.

Why did you choose the course you are studying now?

I have always been fascinated by the human body and all its systems. My interest grew into wanting to understand diseases, why they develop and what can be done with them. This combined with my love for medical research and wanting to better our country’s health system led me straight to medicine.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I see myself specialising in a field – still to be decided on. I will have opened my own practice. Hopefully I will have started branching into medical research with the hopes of working in the research field and leaving the consulting room.

Understanding excellence

I am an achiever because I always aim to do my very best in everything I do. I always set goals for myself in terms of my studies. Challenging myself to outdo myself keeps me motivated to work hard. For people to achieve their goals they must work hard and be devoted to what they are doing. I believe that being passionate is the greatest motivation one can have.

A message to South African youth?

Nothing will be handed to you on a silver platter. To be successful, you must work hard. Be passionate in everything that you do and the rest will come easily. No one controls your destiny other than yourself.

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