Sixteen Distinctions and Counting

Mr Sfundo Khumalo achieved 16 distinctions during studies at UKZN for his BSc degree.

An Ikusasalethu Secondary School matriculant, where he achieved six distinctions, he was inspired by his friend, Mr Thamisanqa Mtshali, who told him about the ‘M’ Stream (Mathematics) offering at UKZN. ‘I became interested right away,’ said Khumalo. ‘I regarded my acceptance at UKZN as an accomplishment because it is one of the best universities in South Africa.’

Khumalo, who majored in Economics and Statistics, says he thoroughly enjoyed his course because he was doing what he loved. During study breaks, he would often lift weights and go jogging. ‘I took my health as seriously as my academics,’ he said.

Khumalo secured a national industry honours bursary through the South African Statistical Association (SASA) – one of only three awarded nationally. He is currently pursuing a BSc Honours degree in Statistics.

‘When I received an email with the good news from the Dean, Prof North, I didn’t believe it,’ said Khumalo. ‘The bursary will help a lot to pay for my studies, accommodation and meals and also allow me to send some cash back home. Obtaining this bursary encourages me to do well in my studies as I will not have to worry about finances,’ he said.

Khumalo would like to pursue a career in academia and plans to stay at UKZN until he completes his PhD.

He is grateful to his mother (Bongiwe Mthethwa) and maMkhulu (Thabile Mkhize) for their love and support.

His greatest wish is for awareness to be created about statistics and programming among high school learners.

Words: Samantha Ngcongo

Photograph: Supplied