Graduate overcomes odds to win place on Dean’s Merit List

Ntebogang Segone. Picture: Brenton Geach/UCT

UCT Dean’s Merit List graduate, Ntebogang Segone, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree last week, dedicated his graduation to his number one supporter, his mother Lettie.

Ntebogang grew up in Vuyolethu Shelters in Kimberley with no electricity and just three communal taps shared between 45 shacks.

His mother single-handedly raised seven children, her own two and her sibling’s five children, on her domestic worker’s salary.

When she lost her job, she joined a stokvel so that there was always food in the house.

“One could say that I lived a very poor life, but for me I lived a good and happy life,” he said.

At school Ntebogang thrived, particularly in mathematics which he received a distinction for in matric.

His results ensured him a place at UCT but he struggled to secure funding for tuition, accommodation and food. Ntebogang approached the Northern Cape premier’s office, seeking assistance and secured R70 000.

While this wasn’t enough to cover all his expenses, he saw it as “a sign from God”.

Outside of academics, he served as co-chair of the Institutional Forum and successfully ran for the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).

During their tenure, the SRC helped raise over R2 million for students in financial difficulty. Ntebogang has since started his Honours in public administration and policy. And while he would like to study further, he plans to enter the workplace as soon as he graduates again in a year’s time.