While most teen boys his age are still in high school, 15-year-old Decent Junior Mkhombo has just embarked on a tremendous journey towards becoming a medical doctor. He had passed Grade 12 from Orhovelani High School with seven distinctions.
Mkhombo who is from Thulamahashe in Mpumalanga is now among the 60 young South Africans who secured admission in the country’s first post-apartheid school of medicine.
Mkhombo and his classmates were honored with some nice looking laboratory coats by provincial health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba at the University of Limpopo (UL) on Friday.
The university’s school of medicine, which opened this year, is the ninth in the country.
Meanwhile, the government has already set aside R10-million to pay for the tuition of all 60 students that got admitted with hope that in the future, they will assist in solving some of the country’s health issues.
Proudly dressed in his white medical coat, Mkhombo said he looked forward to serving his country as a doctor.
“I have a special interest in oncology because cancer is a big thing and it needs to be treated,” he said.
While he was still at school, Mkhombo was promoted twice in midyear – in Grades four and eight – which explains why he completed high school earlier than usual. He didn’t have it easy in school as well due to lack of resources for learning.
“We didn’t have a library. We had a laboratory but it was just a lab by name. It didn’t have resources. But we had very dedicated teachers,” he said.
He said his favourite teacher, Richard Walusimbi, encouraged them to work hard.
“He is a great man.”
National health department spokesman Joe Maila mentioned that Mkhombo could be the youngest medical student but records from other universities will confirm this assumption.
“It is inspiring to see young people doing well academically to a point of getting admitted at the medical school at 15 years of age,” Maila said.