National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Annah Molelekeng Mokoena is studying Medicine

Annah Molelekeng Mokoena is studying medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand.

An achiever knows very well that past victories do not mean that you have already succeeded in your upcoming tasks. You have to work hard, start from zero over and over again and improve each time you do something.

Tell us about your school

I am from Tsebo Secondary School, a quintile one school in the Free State. It is one of the largest schools in the area called Harankopane in Qwaqwa. It manages to produce excellent academic results despite the challenges of the shortage of resources and learning facilities it faces. Its success is owed to the dedicated staff of the school and learners who are willing to learn.

Why do you think some people have a problem with math and science? What would you do to solve the problem?


At high school I realised that not every learner understood the way a certain teacher explained maths and science concepts. The way in which many people interpret things in maths and science differs significantly. This was most evident when a classmate would understand a maths or science concept better when it was explained by another learner than when it was explained by teachers. To solve this problem, I would highly encourage learners to interact every chance they get and teach each other things that challenge them in math and science, as some understand better when they are being helped by someone their age and who has the same level of understanding.

Why did you enjoy science and maths?

I have always loved working with numbers. Maths and science always felt like a game whereby I came across complex calculations and scenarios that would force me to put my brain to work and think outside of the box. They were like an exercise for the brain which improved my thinking and problem-solving skills.

What inspires you?

My parents inspire me to become a better person. Although they did not obtain high level education, they have been very supportive to their children and have ensured that we all succeed academically. I was taught to prioritise my education, be respectful, humble and kind. The kind of care and support they are still giving me keeps me going, even when I feel as if I am not winning at all.

Why did you choose the course you are studying?


Although I loved working with numbers, my passion was elsewhere. Growing up I always felt the need to give, to serve and to bring smiles to other people’s faces. Seeing the need for specialised health care facilities and the absence of specialist doctors in disadvantaged areas, I decided to combine my love for science and my passion for helping others and pursue a career in medicine. Through this course, I will be able to go out there and bring the type of services that can be accessed by people who need it in disadvantaged areas.

A message to South African youth?

Every person has his or her own talent and therefore should never be compared with someone else. It may be excelling academically, singing, dancing, cooking or playing soccer, etc.; but whatever it may be, you need to give it your best shot and trust that one day you will receive positive results.

Any tips for learners in grades 11 and 12?


Use any resource that you may have at your school or home. Be close to your teachers and ask them about anything that gives you a hard time. Be respectful towards them; and do any task that they have prepared for you with honesty, as all that they do is to make sure that you are ready for whatever it is that awaits you after matric. Be strategic, you cannot study mathematics the same way that you study geography or life orientation; and work smart.

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


Apply in time and make sure that you know the admission requirements of the institutions that you wish to apply for. Apply to as many institutions as possible. Check the eligibility requirements of different bursaries and ask for assistance from your teachers if you come across difficulties while applying.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I see myself as a licenced medical doctor who is about to specialise in neurosurgery. I will be working in one of the public hospitals in the disadvantaged areas as there is a high need for medical doctors there.

Understanding excellence – what makes an achiever?

An achiever knows very well that past victories do not mean that you have already succeeded in your upcoming tasks. You have to work hard, start from zero over and over again and improve each time you do something.

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