Ka Kganya le Hlompho

by Katleho Matlatse

The year 2021, came with a lot of surprises, more like miracles. I was given the opportunity to further my honours degree in BMedSci Medical Biochemistry at the University of Cape Town under the Integrative Biomedical Sciences department. Apart from being an independent and disciplined learner (Thanks to three years at UNISA), I experienced many firsts. And my many first, were overwhelming. Most of the time, I had this feeling that there was so much to do, so little time and this feeling went on well into the exam period. I think for the first time in my life, I was burnt out and you know what, it’s okay. 

Studying with the University of Cape Town has always been a dream. I kept applying every year, applied 5 times, rejected 4 times, accepted once when I was ready to throw in the towel. Once I accepted the offer, moved to Cape Town, and attended my first ever stream specific lectures, the actual work had to be done. More had to be done, learning techniques in the lab, my research project, modules, this, and that. I started questioning myself and why I was doing this degree. Am I really doing this degree to just be a UCT graduate? Was I chosen based on luck? Maybe I should go back home and do something there? NO NO NO

I am a firm believer that things happen at the right time. As soon as the questions started popping up, the universe, put me in the right places and the right time. I met exceptional individuals, doctors (medical and academics), supervisors, lecturers, uber drivers, classmates, hikers… Every individual that I connected with instilled a little thing or two, which I am very grateful for. But at the end of the day, I had to remind myself of the many reasons I am here- Sometimes the scariest things for us in life are the things that set us free. It doesn’t feel like it in the middle of the battle, but I’ll look back on it and realize that I arrived equipped.

I exercise ka kganya le hlompho (light and respect), to be kind to myself and do the best that I can with what I have. I urge you ka kganya le hlompho, to do the same.

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