Meet Athol - Mitchells Plain’s acclaimed poet with 5 Master’s degrees

Meet Athol - Mitchells Plain’s acclaimed poet with 5 Master’s degrees

- Award-winning South African poet, Athol Williams, previously fulfilled a 20-year dream by earning a distinction for his thesis at England’s Oxford University

- Williams, who hails from Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats, became the 1st person to earn degrees from 5 of the best universities in the world

- Williams has published numerous books, his autobiography and co-founded the Read to Rise literacy project

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Award-winning South African poet, Athol Williams, has an endless list of notable accolades to his name.

However, one of the most memorable would have been the fulfilment of a 20-year dream, while setting a record in the process.

In 2017, Williams fulfilled his dream of studying at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and was awarded with a distinction for his thesis.

In the process, he became the first person to earn a Master’s degree from five of the best universities in the world.

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The impressive list of tertiary institutions includes the London School of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and the University of the Witwatersrand.

One of the things that sets Williams apart is that the record-breaking feat was not achieved off the back of a privileged background.

Williams grew up in Mitchells Plain during the apartheid era.

For the uninitiated, the suburb was one of the coloured townships created during apartheid on the notorious Cape Flats.

Despite the exposure to poverty, inequality and crime, the writer overcame his surroundings in spectacular style.

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Williams has written numerous books and published his autobiography, Pushing Boulders, in 2016.

He won the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award for two consecutive years as well as numerous other awards.

The 49-year-old also co-founded Read to Rise – an NGO assisting with the distribution of books to impoverished communities. salutes Athol Williams not only for his internationally recognised achievements, but for uplifting the community he grew up in.

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