After years of hard work and determination, a 27-year-old woman is one of the youngest South Africans to have obtained a PhD degree in science.

News24 reported that Motshabi Sibeko obtained her PhD in Polymer Science at the University of the Free State earlier this month.

Sibeko, who registered as a student at the University of the Free State in 2007, said her record has always spoken volumes of her determination.

“It is never about where you come from; it is about the work that you put in. I always worked hard so that my work would speak for me,” she told News24 on Friday.

“When I finished with my Masters, I just thought to myself that I was still very young and wanted to study further. I am very excited because I am the first to obtain a PhD in my family.”

Born and bred in Bolata in QwaQwa, Sibeko said the support of her parents, who are not formally educated, and her nine siblings, pushed her to work even harder.

“I was always the quiet one. I would go to school and then come back and do my homework.”

Sibeko said her postgraduate studies were funded by the National Research Forum (NRF).

“If you work hard then you wouldn’t have to worry about how you will pay for your studies. I travelled to Italy twice for my studies and everything was provided for. I did not worry about a cent,” the graduate said.

She is currently lecturing postgraduate students at the university and has been offered the opportunity to do her postdoctoral studies in Port Elizabeth.

“I am looking forward to it and I am very excited. I can safely say the future is too bright, but after my postdoctoral studies, I am done.”

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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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