The headboy of St John’s College in Johannesburg, Sazi Bongwe, will be packing his bags for the US after being accepted to study at the prestigious Harvard University.
The 18-year-old from Oaklands in Johannesburg received confirmation of his admission to the Ivy League institution in the early hours of Friday morning.
According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology are both ranked second among the top universities in the world.
Bongwe, who achieved distinctions in all nine subjects in the matric preliminary exams, has qualified for a “need-based financial aid” programme from Harvard.
He said that according to this programme, his parents will declare their financials and Harvard “will make a judgment of how much aid they need to grant us to cover what can’t be paid by us”.
“I have yet to review the financial aid documents with my parents,” he said.
Three alumni of St John’s have previously been chosen to study at Harvard, including Siyabulela Xuza, who is a top scientist and has an asteroid named after him. Xuza, who matriculated in 2007, was also awarded the Order of Mapungubwe.
The other two former pupils are Nick Brinkmann and Rheede Erasmus, who completed matric in 2017.
Bongwe, who is confident of bagging distinctions in his nine subjects in the matric exams, said it was “a rare honour” to be chosen to study at Harvard.
“As someone who often struggles to say this, I am proud of myself. A lot went into this and it all feels worth it. But this achievement isn’t mine alone. I’m deeply grateful to everybody who has been a part of this, my family most of all,” he said.
An avid reader who also writes occasionally, Bongwe said: “I’m just so excited for this next chapter and what it holds for me.”
He said one of his reasons for applying to Harvard was that it “offers really good financial aid”, adding: “Accessing that financial aid was a very big part of my application.
“More significantly was the academics. For many of the degrees within the social sciences, particularly the three I listed, Harvard is, if not the best, then one of the best, in those spaces.” – TimesLive!