National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Andiswa Gabela’s fascination with numbers started in primary school

Andiswa Gabela is studying medicine at the University of Cape Town. He matriculated at Phillip Ndimande Secondary School in Mpumalanga Province. He was selected as one of the students for the NSTF’s Brilliants Programme in 2021.  

“I love helping others. No matter how busy am, I will always create time to help others.”

Tell us a bit about your school ?


I was born in rural village Dlebe at Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal. I attended KwaGoqo Primary School, where my fascination with numbers started. I moved to Witbank in Mpumalanga Province to stay with my other and I entered secondary school at Phillip Ndimande Secondary School. I completed my matric in 2020. My results made many people proud, especially my mother and my teachers. My teachers at school were dedicated and helped us understand the subjects in a very short space of time. We were even helped by friendly tutors who always encouraged me. I attended church, but it was not always possible due to COVID-19 restrictions.

What inspires you to excel?

I felt overwhelmed in my matric year since the school frequently closed due to COVID-19 cases at school and the national lockdown. At that time I was living in a shack in a very disadvantaged area called Marikana, with no proper basic services at all. I had to collect water, sometimes from the river. I told myself that I don’t want to live like this for the rest of my life. My mother understood this and was very supportive.

Why did you enjoy science and maths?

When I entered secondary school I was not serious about school work. I made a mistake that I learnt a lot from, namely that I thought I knew all the concepts in my school work, so I did not take school work seriously. Things started to change by the time I was doing Grade 10 and by the time I was doing grade 11, I had discovered my potential. I used to study and help my friends in class every time I had the opportunity.

Why did you choose the course you are studying?

I chose to study medicine because I love people and I have always been interested in the human body. I am happy that I am studying in a field that I am passionate about here at the University of Cape Town (UCT). I want to change the world with the knowledge that I will acquire from the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences.

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