The South African revolution that brought down apartheid could have provided a system where such students would have institutional support instead of requiring such heroic individual effort to succeed. Congratulations and let's hope the the unfinished revolution continues as is the case now in Egypt. Kamran

On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 6:37 PM, Stuart Newman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
A triumph of an unfortunately rare sort, but a great one. Congratulations
to both of you!

On Wed, 25 Jan 2012 14:57:04 +0200, Mandi Smallhorne
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Can I share this with you?
>
>I may have mentioned that eight years ago I met and befriended an Aids
>orphan in one of our shanty towns. Mbali is very bright, and battled her
way
>through a very poor and dysfunctional school to qualify for university.
She
>wanted to do a BSc, but could not get in due to space constraints. She
>therefore did a diploma course in biotechnology at the University of
>Johannesburg last year - and did very well, getting three distinctions,
one
>in chemistry.
>
>We applied to transfer her to BSc this year, and the admin botched
things -
>they told her she was accepted subject to space being available, then
told
>her she'd been rejected. I got into a rage and wrote an impassioned -
but I
>hope reasoned - email to the dean, pointing out that this way, South
Africa
>was likely to lose a scientist and gain a technician. She has proved that
>she is dedicated and hardworking, and will not drop out mid-year, as so
many
>of our deeply unprepared first-years do. I said she should be accepted
based
>solely on her 2011 results, but added that I found it really sad that they
>were turning down a girl who, on one occasion, turned to me with a
glowing
>face and said, "I really LOVE science!" Someone who has the potential to
go
>way beyond BSc, to really contribute to science nationally and globally.
>(Plus, I reminded them, she has a sponsor who is paying her fees, and I
am
>sure I can fundraise a little to cover books - so many of our first-years
>don't have enough for their fees, and can't qualify for a bank loan, the
>Catch-22 being banks won't loan to first-years who they well know
could drop
>out.)
>
>And guess what? I got a phone call from the faculty. They have decided
to
>accept Mbali. She's on her way! A kid born in a corrugated iron shack will
>become a scientist, will, I am sure, one day be Dr Nkabinde. Tears,
>laughter, and a desire to rush out and polka down the street.. OMG, I
am so
>glad!
>
>Mandi
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