Sixteen year-old whizz kid ready for varsity

​Nothando Ngobeni is one of almost 15 000 first-year students who have enrolled at the Tshwane University of Technology this year. However, there is one fact, or rather figure that sets this well-spoken whiz kid apart from the rest of the 2017 intake. She is only sixteen years old!

The small-framed girl and the youngest of four siblings, who hails from Daveyton in the East Rand, says it is by chance that she went to primary school aged four. Her mom, Duduzile, the strict and supportive matriarch of the family, initially took her to a crèche; but after only a month, Nothando was already able to write her name and surname and was subsequently sent to the “big school.”

She never felt out of place there and flourished from day one, both socially and academically.

Last year, she was one of the Hulwazi Secondary School’s Top Ten Learners with above average marks, scoring in the high seventies for most of her subjects. “I never received any special treatment from my teachers. I worked really hard, listened carefully, and attended extra classes, even on Saturdays and Sundays,” says Nothando.

She is currently enrolled for a National Diploma: Information Technology (IT) and chose TUT because of the practical approach to courses.

She indicates that the late Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. is her role model. No wonder she dreams of also starting her own company one day, developing an App that is used the world over.

She says she was a bit scared and overwhelmed during the first few weeks at University, but has already settled in nicely and has made new friends. Luckily, her elder sister, Confidence Thali Ngobeni, studied Education at the Soshanguve North Campus and could prepare her for campus life. Her brother, Sydwell, a draughtsman, also played a huge role in motivating and mentoring her, reminding her to stay humble.

“I’m used to people asking about my age and being called small, but I am comfortable interacting with all age groups and able to adjust accordingly.”

In her spare time, she likes reading novels, writing poems and admits to having at least one guilty pleasure, kota (bunny chow).

“Age is just a number. You just need to do what you need to do,” she concludes.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology please contact Willa de Ruyter on tel: 012 382 5352 or send an email to