From a petrol attendant to a medical doctor, Ntando Makhubela’s life-long dreams are finally becoming a reality.
South Africa (14 June 2020) – A young man has inspired social media users with his grass to grace story. After finishing high school with remarkable marks, Ntando Makhubela could not go to university because of financial problems.
He started working as a petrol attendant when someone saw potential in him and decided to help him bag a scholarship. Now, he’s well on his way to becoming a medical doctor.
Makhubela, 25, matriculated from Cyril Clarke Secondary School in 2014 with distinctions in maths, biology and physics but could not afford to go to university.
“I did apply to Wits but they didn’t take me for the course [medicine] that I wanted and I had a bursary as well… [they] told me they were full and couldn’t take more students,” he told News outlets.
“I was studying a Bachelor of Science for two weeks and then I decided to come back home because I had to pay for myself and I didn’t have money.”
Makhubela returned home to Mbombela [Nelspruit] where he lived with his mother and younger sister. In May 2015 he started working as a petrol attendant.
“I was tired of having to ask for money, I had to take care of myself.”
Makhubela was then approached by the ANC Youth League chairperson in his area. “He was aware that I did well in school and he gave me the application form and I applied.”
The very next year he received a scholarship from the Mpumalanga health department and was part of a group of 56 students from the province travelling to Cuba to study medicine. The South Africa-Cuba Medical Programme was introduced in 1998. Makhubela said he only really starting studying medicine in 2017, as the first year is spent learning Spanish.
“They teach in Spanish, everything is in Spanish. So the first year we have to learn Spanish.”
Asked what he wanted to do when he completed his studies, Makhubela said he wanted to return home and contribute to his community in Mpumalanga.
“I want to come back and be someone in my community… I want to come back and help the communities here,” he said.