Everything you need to know about a late application to TUT

28-year-old PhD graduate encourages others to reach for the stars

Lehlohonolo Phali is just 28 years old and has become the youngest graduate at the University of The North West to receive a PhD in Applied Mathematics.

Everything you need to know about a late application to TUT

Congratulations have been pouring in for the young graduate, who says that anyone is capable of pursuing their dream qualification if given the opportunity.

Phali, who grew up in Sebokeng in Gauteng, registered in 2005 with the intention of studying mathematics. He believes his success came from a combination of hard work, the bursaries he was offered and the fact that he found a love for a career that is scarce and highly sought after.

Phali credits his mother, a single mom, and his late supervisor, Professor Matthew Kambule for playing significant roles in his decisions.

The financial support Phali received enabled him to achieve what he has, but he believes that there is not enough money being invested in postgraduate mathematics students.

Phali believes: “Let’s give them enough to make them want to study because you find that they offer you a bursary that pays a R5000 stipend to a Masters student and by then you find that the student already has responsibilities at home, because you know we come from homes where they are going to have to depend on you, so the reason you want to leave school and go to work is because you want to cover some of the responsibilities.”

He is now working as a lecturer at his alumni and would like to supervise post-graduate students in the future. Phali is also a motivational speaker. “I think learners are taught how to answer question papers and that doesn’t help them to think independently. I help learners understand concepts so that they can answer question papers on their own.”