There’s defi nitely nothing fi shy about successful production scientist Dr Molatelo Madibana (33),
who is the first researcher in South Africa to test Ulva seaweed, herbal products
and Brewer’s yeast in the diet of Dusky kob (Argyromus japonicas), a migratory, spawning fish.
He has come a long way since 2003, when he didn’t know where to get R7.50 for a taxi to go to a shopping centre in Senwabarwana,
Limpopo to enquire about municipal bursaries and his sister Jaenatt suggested that he visit his former primary school teacher Betty Manamela for advice.
Manamela gave him R100 for a taxi to the University of Limpopo, where he was introduced to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
“I applied and presented my grandmother’s South African Social Security Agency payslip
and was soon given a registration merit award of R2 200 because of my good matric results.
“Back then we only got R6 600 from NSFAS and there was no subsidy for meals, accommodation or books.
My mother could only send me R250 from her housekeeping job in Gauteng.
From that, I had to pay R100 a month for an off-campus shack and buy food and study guides,” he said.
Setting the foundation NSFAS paid Dr Madibana’s fees for three years and he passed his courses.
“Life was in equilibrium and the scheme set my career’s foundation.
As long as I passed, the NSFAS converted some of the money into a bursary.” In 2006,
when he graduated from the University of Limpopo with a Bachelor of Science degree, he only owed R20 000.
“This I paid back in a year and a half, when I started working.” In 2007, Dr Madibana obtained an Honours degree in aquaculture.
Soon thereafter he received a bursary from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
and the Norwegian government for a Master of Science degree in aquatic medicine at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
He graduated in 2010 and returned to South Africa, when DAFF snapped him up for a two-year contract to work in its Aquaculture Research Directorate.
When the contract ended, DAFF employed him permanently.
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