Beatrice Mwamba Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - After obtaining seven distinctions, and being provisionally accepted at Stellenbosch University and UCT to study chemical engineering, Beatrice Mwamba is still struggling to get a bursary or any sort of funding because she is a foreign national. “After I complete my degree I would love to work on sustainable development,” said Mwamba.

Settlers High School’s top achiever, Mwamba said she has been applying for bursaries and scholarships but there are not many she could apply for.

She started at Settlers in Grade 8 and has always performed well. “Even though she has had a really tough journey, she never played victim and was still willing to try to help other pupils,” said Louisa Hall, deputy headmistress of the school. Mwamba said she had a pretty normal schooling career in Grades 8 and 9.

However, in Grade 10 things took a bad turn when her father, the family’s breadwinner, died.

“I am the youngest in the family and I have two older siblings who worked and tried to help my mother in the house, but we didn’t have a stable income. Sometimes it was even tough just to get through the month.”

When asked about what she did to overcome her situation she said she simply decided to work hard and get out of the dark space.

“Honestly, I did find myself in a dark space, but I prayed to God and had patience.

“I decided not to stay in that space and to work harder because that is something no one can take away from me.”

Mwamba persevered and would sit at a 24-hour internet café to get her assignments done. She would spend late nights there burning the midnight oil to make sure she excelled.

“I ended up forming a good relationship with the people from the internet café. I saw them today and told them about my results; they were so proud.”

Beatrice got 89% for maths, 97% for physical science, 94% for English home language, 94% for life orientation, 95% for economics and 94% for history.

Weekend Argus