Charles Sekgetho Mokwatlo is a PhD Candidate in his final year of study at the University of Pretoria in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Charles, an alumnus of the AEC, attended High School at the Highlands North Boys’ High School where he matriculated in the year 2010. He was a top achieving pupil throughout his schooling years at the HNBHS, where he eventually received six distinctions in his matric year.

“Living in the Alexandra township, with my mother as the sole breadwinner at the time, it never occurred to me that I could attend my high school in one of the prestigious schools in town.” Charles lived with a family of five, in a single room flat. “But when the AEC came looking for potentially promising students in Alexandra to sponsor, the prospect of being a beneficiary of such an opportunity excited me. I understood then that going to a well performing high school was going to be a big stepping-stone towards my dream of emancipating my family from the struggles we faced.”

Charles expressed a deep sense of gratitude towards the role that AEC played in his high school life, and how he was prepared to perform well in university because of it. “To begin with, it was the then Director of the AEC, the late Mr Frank Simmonds, who took it upon himself that I had a bursary for university before I even completed my matric year. So that eased my mind as I knew everything was taken care of. When I got to university, however, I realised that I was so much prepared for it compared to many. The extra lessons, mentorship and motivational workshops that the AEC provided through their rigorous program all played a role. It is for this very reason, that I was included in the Dean’s Merit list and achieved a four-year 77.5% average for my bachelor’s degree, as well as getting my honours and master’s degree with distinction.”

Currently, Mr Mokwatlo is planning to complete his doctoral studies this year, following which he wishes to pursue a career in engineering consulting while possibly being a part-time lecturer. He is also adamant that he was wants to be involved in social development work, especially in the education field. “If education could impact my life in this manner, I want the same for many other pupils like me out there.”