National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Tharina Snyman is studying veterinary science

Tharina Snyman is studying veterinary science at the University of Pretoria. She attended school at Duineveld High School in the Northern Cape.

Winston Churchill once said: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”.

Tell us a bit about your school

I matriculated at Duineveld High School in Upington in 2019. The motto of the school is “Persevere and overcome”. Duineveld High School does not only exceed in academics, but also in sport and culture. The school encourages learners to take part in school activities and to live a balanced, healthy life. They believe that a committed learner is a happy learner. Duineveld High School knows that every learner is unique and encourage learners to find their passion with the assistance of teachers that care about their pupils. The school creates opportunities for their pupils to achieve great heights.    

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

A good foundation in math and science is vital for learners to succeed in these subjects. I believe that some teachers who are teaching these subjects to young learners find it hard to inspire and encourage them, because they are not passionate about these subjects. Learners without a good foundation may struggle and eventually fail. I believe that the solution to this problem is to appoint teachers that are passionate about teaching sciences and math. The teachers’ love for the subjects will be carried over to the students. Learners will have a more positive attitude towards these subjects and gain the confidence to successfully master and enjoy math and science. I will always do my best to share my passion and knowledge with other learners.

Why did you enjoy math and science?


I enjoyed math and science, because I viewed it as a challenge. I wanted to succeed! So many learners become negative when they struggle with these subjects. They lose their confidence to master math and science. I had a positive attitude towards these subjects, because I realised that mastering math and science is vital for my future as a veterinarian. 

What inspires you?


Completing challenges successfully gives me a lot of inspiration.

Why did you choose the course you are studying?

I was born and raised in the Green Kalahari, in Upington. I grew up in a family that treated animals with dignity, respect and care. As a young girl I always accompanied my father when he took our dogs to the veterinarian. I became passionate about veterinary sciences. Our local veterinarian told me that it is not easy to get selected for the course, but by working hard at school and shadowing at his practice when I reach Grade 7, it would improve my chances. I did exactly what he told me and spent most of my school holidays with passionate veterinarians.

A message to South African Youth?


Rise above your circumstances by focusing on the positive. Be grateful, work hard continuously and BELIEVE.


Any tips for learners in Grade 11 & 12?


Good research about the direction in which you want to go after school and the requirements that need to be met is vital. I believe that if you do your part and work hard, doors will open for you. Take part in activities at school and live a healthy balanced life.

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


Doing your research about the different institutions as well as the programmes and financial assistance that they offer is vital. Contact the faculty if you have any uncertainties and speak to students who are currently at the institution. Keep to the set dates for applications and documents that need to be submitted. Enjoy your last year at school and if possible attend the camp for first years at the institution that you would like to attend.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I am in the second year of my study program and would love to return to the Northern Cape after I have completed my studies as a veterinarian. The Northern Cape is known for its vast stretches of land. I would like to bring the service closer to the people and their animals that often have to travel long distances to receive the services that they need. Innovation will form an integral part of my service delivery to our community. By identifying the needs in my community, I will be able to know how I can improve service delivery or establish services that did not exist before.

Understanding excellence – what makes an achiever?


Winston Churchill once said: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”.

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