A ChAnCe tO suCCeed

vuyile Sixaba is a well-mannered and softly spoken young man, but when he is questioned about how he got to be where he is, there are glimpses of a steely determination and a sense of purpose.

By Cathy Gush Sixaba is one of the recipients of a bursary that forms part of the human Capital development programme of the Square kilometre array (Ska) project. he is studying towards a bSc degree and will be majoring in physics and mathematics, as required, although he hinted at the fact that he may take an extra year to complete a Statistics major as he enjoys the subject. his primary schooling was largely at St mary's primary School, after that he had a couple of years at Ntaba maria primary before completing his schooling at Nathaniel Nyaluza high School. when asked whether he always dreamt of being a scientist, he chuckles and says, "No, i thought i wanted to do a business degree or economics because i wanted to become president of the country and be like thabo mbeki, but i don't regret the change. i'm not that good in public so it was probably a good thing!" it was a friend at rhodes who helped him secure the bursary. Sivuyile madikane, who matriculated at Nathaniel Nyaluza in 2008 and is currently doing his Statistics honours at rhodes, gave Sixaba access to the internet and encouraged him to research bursary and study opportunities. he applied to a number of grantors, but Ska was the one that proved successful. the bursary covers all his expenses such as class fees, accommodation and pocket money. Sixaba praises the support of his teachers at Nyaluza, but says one of the drawbacks of doing physics at university and being required to do a lot of practical work and experiments, is the fact that they did not have the facilities and he did not have exposure at school level. "my fellow students find it a lot easier and seem to get through it quicker. for me it is still hard work and i don't enjoy it that much." Sixaba says his close-knit community in fingo village are very supportive of him. "Even the gangsters tell me to keep doing what i'm doing!" August 2012 l Rhodos Photo: Chris Kelly he says. although he lives in residence at rhodes, he does make frequent visits home and, he admits, "Everyone enjoys the music and the movies i bring back on my computer." about this one thing Sixaba is adamant. "there are people who through their inspiration, motivation and support have made me who i am today, and i want to acknowledge them: my mother, my friends and my teachers, especially someone like my high school maths teacher, dr atebe." a born-and-bred grahamstonian, Sixaba says he has no particular plans to move further afield. while the possibilities may seem endless for a young man like vuyile Sixaba, the responsibility of taking care of family is at the top of his agenda. "my mother, who works as a gardener at rhodes, will be retiring soon and then i will be the breadwinner, so above anything else i need to get a job that pays well." (See SKA story on page 16) 5

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