Master of her own destiny
Qondisa Ngxanga is the first LEAP graduate to get a Master’s degree. In 2013, she completed a Master’s in Mathematical Science at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).
I was born in the Eastern Cape and moved to Cape Town after my grandmother, who was raising me, passed away. I joined LEAP in Grade 10 and matriculated in 2005. I enjoyed maths and was good at it, but at first I thought of studying either fashion or physiotherapy at university.
When I got accepted for a BSc in Maths and Statistics at the University of the Western Cape, I never dreamt that I would end up loving maths even more. But I did; so much so that I decided to do my Honours in Computational Finance. Then I got an opportunity to study towards my Master’s at AIMS, and I knew I wanted to study still further. AIMS only takes a small number of students from all over Africa so I felt special to have been selected to do Financial Mathematics there.
I never expected that I would one day be this educated. When I look at where I come from, it is unbelievable because I am the first person in my family to have obtained a matric certificate.
I think I am also the only person in my area of Langa to have a Master’s degree. It has taken a lot of hard work to get here. I am fortunate that numbers just make sense to me but I also have to focus on my studies. It’s not easy. When I started tertiary I realized I had to change my attitude and not always be interested in getting As. I decided what was important was to continue the academic journey even if I wasn’t always top of the class.
I am now doing a Research Master’s and tutoring at the University of the Western Cape. Over the next couple of years, I hope to get a job and either obtain a doctorate or MBA. Whatever career I follow, I’m sure it’ll involve maths.
Maths is the mother of all faculties and disciplines. For me, life is about numbers.