Young UP graduate aims even higher

Quintine Mkhondo recently became the youngest university graduate in South Africa.

The 19-year-old obtained a degree in actuarial science and financial mathematics from the University of Pretoria with the teenager later saying the degree was only a start.

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“After graduating, I enrolled for honours, a certificate in mathematical statistics,” he said.

“Besides that I am working on teaching young people how to trade on the Forex market.”

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Mkhondo said he was passionate about changing people’s lives.

“As much as I am one of the youngest people to graduate with a degree, I feel my life doesn’t stop here,” he said.

“There is a lot that I want to do for the youth especially those in the rural areas like Bushbuckridge where I grew up.”

Mkhondo was born in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria but spent most of his life in Bushbuckridge with his grandmother.

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“I am grateful for my mother to have sent me to live with my grandmother in the rural area like Bushbuckridge because I have seen what growing up in the township has done to some people I know.”

He said it was not easy being the youngest in class.

“My journey at university forced me to grow up at a much faster rate than the normal teenager, but I don’t regret a minute of it,” said Mkhondo.

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He said he studied for his exams and did not receive any special treatment from his lecturers or classmates.

“They treated me like they did everyone else,” he said.

The university said it was proud of Mkhondo’s achievements.

“His achievement is just another example of how University of Pretoria nurtures young minds of all backgrounds and produces outstanding graduates,” it said.

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From a young age, Mkhondo had been an exceptional learner.

He skipped grades 5 and grade 9 due to his advanced academic performance.

“I have failed some of my tests while in high school and even here at UP,” he said.

“It’s not that I am that smart, I just work hard.

“I study and afford myself little time to go out and party.”

He said he decided on a degree in actuarial science after attending a career fair in his matric year.

Mkhondo matriculated from Hoedspruit Independent College in 2012 at age 14.

Currently, he is a student assistant at the university and is part of a book club that promotes the reading of finance and business literature.

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Thato Mahlangu

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