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Student aces her PhD - at just 23 years of age

A 23-year-old North West University student has become one of the youngest on the continent to achieve PhD.

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Musawenkosi receives her PhD from Mr Franco Nkoana, registrar of NWU’s Mahikeng campus

But getting there was not easy for Musawenkhosi Sourambe.

Her father, a teacher, sold his car to help put her through her third year. But her determination paid off and now she has a doctorate in industrial psychology.

North West University said it had not been necessary to make a single correction to her thesis, which was "flawless". Sourambe started school at the age of four in Gaborone, Botswana.

"My parents had to explain to my teachers when they wanted to promote me that I needed time to mature - and it was true. When I got to university I struggled," she said.

Sourambe matriculated at the age of 15 and started a BCom degree at 16. She received an honours degree at 19 and a master’s, with distinctions, at 21.

Her first years at university were tough, she said, because she struggled to relate to other students. "I had a lot of responsibility from a young age and my peers had more liberty than I because I was so young.

"I couldn’t act my own age. I always had to be more mature and some of my peers didn’t know how old I was." Sourambe has been awarded a doctoral fellowship at North West University.

She now teaches and supervises postgraduate students at NWU’s campus in Mahikeng but intends spending time abroad this year attending academic conferences. Her goal now is to get a driver’s licence. She was too young to get one after matric and too busy completing her third year at university when she turned 18.

Mugiejo A

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