- Shamila Mpinga, 23, hails from Dambuza township outside Pietermaritzburg in KZN
- Her mother worked as a domestic worker to make ends meet
- She has excelled in her studies and has won a Rhodes scholarship to study at the prestigious Oxford University in the UK
A 23-year-old daughter of a domestic worker has bagged a Rhodes scholarship to study at the prestigious Oxford University in the UK.
Shamila Mpinga, from Dambuza township near Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, will pursue an MSc in law and finance and an MBA.
She already holds a law degree (summa cum laude) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She obtained this with the help of a Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship due to her excellent performance.
Shamila also has a Master's in Mineral Law from the University of Cape Town, Daily News reports. She won the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship in 2017 to complete it.
In an interview, the brilliant student said her mom was often away from home. She therefore lived with her aunt and uncle for most of her younger years. She added:
Notwithstanding the limited resources, my mother always ensured that I was well taken care of.
Shamila credited her family and wider Muslim community for teaching her to be independent at a young age.
She voluntarily started working as a cashier at local shops when she was 12, Briefly.co.za learned. Her excellence and hard work won her a high school bursary. Shamila said:
I have truly felt the effects of ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ I'm the first person in my family to get a degree.
Shamila hoped that her extraordinary story would inspire other young people to "push the boundaries, surpass expectations and to not be victims of circumstance."
She encouraged others to keep their dreams alive and to be open to even the remotest possibilities.
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