“NRF fulfilled my dreams” said Dr Patience Thabede
By Puleng Maphisa 15 December 2021
“I believe with a qualification you can be anything you want. Qualification is a sign that you can think and that you have a lot of potential. So, no one should be unemployed because having a qualification means to me that one capable of bringing solutions to problems, said Dr Patience Thabede who recently graduated with a PHD in chemistry.
Dr. Thabede came to the Vaal University of Technology to complete her BTech in Analytical Chemistry and she ended up doing PHD. She always dreamed of becoming a medical doctor but that was never fulfilled and never the end of her road. Although she wanted to be a medical doctor, she managed to fulfil her dream by owning a Dr’s tittle in her name.
After finishing her BTech she was offered NRF funding to enrol for her master’s degree and that was a great achievement for her. She grabbed the opportunity with both hands and used it to advance herself which also brought the second opportunity for her to fulfil her dream by completing PHD in Chemistry.
Her PHD thesis was based on water treatment by using black cumin seeds as material to adsorb toxic metals ions and dyes on the surface of the seeds. Dr. Thabede said that this feels like a dream to her, she always felt that her dream is unreachable but through the help of NRF funding and her supervisor she managed to make it happen.
Dr. Thabede said that her journey was not an easy, but she managed to pull through despite the obstacles she encountered and received much support from her siblings, mom, and colleagues. “I am so grateful for the support I received, my mom is my inspiration and would like to thank everyone for supporting me. I always believe that hard work pays, perseverance and discipline is for a short time when you want to achieve your goals. Here I am today, hard work has paid off I’m grateful”, said Dr Thabede with teary eyes.
She further said that she used to treat her studies like work, as she was a full-time student, she spent most of her time in the lab. She will sometimes spend 12 hours on campus and concluded that she is a full-time shift worker.
Dedicating time to her studies helped her to submit in time and seeing her work being published every time she submitted encouraged her to work harder. She mentioned that she had to have self-discipline and work during the weekends and accept that she doesn’t have a social life.
Dr. Thabede would spend most of her free time reading motivational books and watching action movies. She leaves by the following quote, whatever the mind can conceive and believe it, it can achieve.
She said that if students can apply the quote in their daily life, they can achieve whatever they want, and they should see the institution as a place of work.
“If only students can think like that then it would be easy for them to pass. There is a lot that one can learn from an institution, it’s not only about obtaining a qualification. It’s about learning about yourself, what you like, what you don’t like, your capabilities (strength and weaknesses) the type of friends you want, or you don’t want, discipline, courage. It’s about life skills said Dr. Thabede in closing.
Dr. Thabede said being amongst the first group to receive new brand certificate is a history in making for her and she is humbled and honoured to be the first group to embrace change.