(Cape Town) – A PhD graduate, who once worked alongside ex-convicts as a grass cutter for the South African Navy, says his high school teacher motivated him to rise above his poverty-stricken community.
“If it wasn’t for a teacher who told me in Grade 10 that I could do better academically, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” Riaan Cedras told News24.
“He sort of made me feel special. He recognised the potential in me, where as at home and in the community, I never got that kind of recognition. You know when someone from the outside looks at you and say: ‘I believe in you.'”
Cedras, 33, received a PhD in marine biology from the University of Western Cape (UWC) on Tuesday for his work on copepods in the south-west Indian Ocean.
Growing up in Lavender Hill in the Cape Flats, Cedras said excelling academically was never considered the popular thing to do.
“I was teased all my life – I thought I was going to go crazy. It made me perform poorer in subjects because you don’t want to be known as a sort of nerd,” he said.
For the full story: News24.