I came. I saw. I conquered

When it comes to dreaming we’re mostly told to reach for the stars and that if we miss, we will end up amongst the stars. What they forget to tell us is that all this comes with perseverance and not giving up on your dreams. This is exactly what Evans Kane did when left his small rural town at 5 am to travel to Bloemfontein to pursuit a second chance at his dreams.
Kane completed his matric in 2013 with a Mathematics mark which couldn’t allow him to pursue his studies further. He got accepted at the University of the Free State (UFS) for his second choice, which was a Bsc in Genetics the previous year. The stress and pressure during his grade 12 year took its toll and he fell short. “This broke me completely as I had plans for my future, plans for myself to make it out of Murraysburg,” he said.

On the way to Bloemfontein, a journey which he took with his parents, he kept praying that the UFS would have a space reserved for him on the extended program. He had read about it online and was determined to register for it. Fortunately, he go in. “I first met Elzmarie Oosthuizen, the program Director of the extended program, who was filled with such a kind spirit and happy soul. She immediately assisted me without an appointment. My university journey started here,” he said.

He knew that he began this journey with a bad AP score, but this didn’t stop him. Admission into the programme was as if he had received a second opportunity.

“I learned to forgive myself for my mistakes and failures as well as worked hard. I knew I had to give 150% dedicated to this final opportunity on the extended program. I didn’t stop I worked hard every day as well as maintaining a part-time job to fund my studies. I worked so hard that even the following year I was appointed as a demmie (student assistant) to help with Mathematics.”

While certain students dislike the added time on their degrees brought by the extended programme, Evans found this as a golden second opportunity for his dreams.

“Some students may not like south-campus because of the distance, but I’ve learned to love it. The people there are so friendly and it fosters a community where you could actually interact with smaller groups outside of your classroom as everyone knows everyone. The people I have met there are wonderful in every way possible.”

Kane applauds the South campus on their selection of each individual who presents a module. “They understand the circumstances and are always willing to go an extra-mile. I will never forget the tools and skills they teach in VBN as that made me cope with issues in my personal life. I learned how SWOT can be used to my advantage,” he said. He mentions how he met Mr. Pierre De Villiers, his Mathematics Facilitator, through the programme who was an exceptional teacher. “I gained so much from him. I learned things my high school teacher couldn’t teach me well. I started listening attentively to his learning methods. His passion to make a difference in the world is unbelievable. He has poured his heart and soul out towards a group of children including myself to push us to always do our best and even when our best isn’t good enough it should be. Watching him do what he loves, made me excited to study or continue in a mathematical field,” he said.

Kane passed all of my modules that year with a distinction except one module. “I proved to myself that year that if I can make it through one year of university I could make it through mainstream.”

Kane is, without a doubt, honoured to have been part of the BSc Extended program. Obtaining his BSc Chemistry and Food science degree made him the first graduate in his family and the second person to graduate in his entire hometown. “My family and parents still get emotional every time and already call me Professor Kane. I am happy for this opportunity or second chance (extended program) that the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural science has granted me,” he said.

He intends on furthering his studies next by pursuing a Post Graduate Certificate in Education next year. “I need to show my community that it doesn’t matter where you come from. Your disadvantages, your set-backs and your reality or situation that you’re in don’t matter either. In the end hard work beats all obstacles in your journey.”