Wiseman Mavuso was one of the 39 students in the agency’s Western Region, across three universities, to be awarded a SANRAL bursary this financial year 2016/17.

It is often said that you should believe in your dreams and they will come true. That may be so, but this very talented young man who is tackling his dreams head on, has one word of advice for other young people: Work Hard. Ok so strictly speaking those are two words.

Mavuso is no stranger to hard work. From Grade 1 to Grade 7, he emerged and maintained his position as top student in the school. Upon starting high school, learners from other areas meant new and tougher competition and he realised that he would have to up his game.

In so doing, he earned the status of being a maths fundi – and this proficient mathematician was most disappointed when he did not achieve 100% in his final maths exam and instead had to be satisfied with 93%.

This despite the fact that there were prolonged periods when his school had no maths or science teachers and he had to attend Saturday programmes at other schools to access tuition.

His interest in Civil Engineering began when he noticed that a new road, which had been built in Mpumalanga, had massive potholes less than three months after it was completed.

The enquiring mind immediately wondered how this had occurred, who was responsible, what materials were used and how this could be avoided in future.

So, at the tender age of 18, Mavuso, who had never ventured beyond KZN and Mpumalanga, set off on a bus to Cape Town, for the very first time in his life, to enrol for an Engineering degree at the University of Cape Town.

With no family financial support or friends, this tenacious young man put one foot in front of the other and started building his dream, one brick at a time.

He had applied for several bursaries and was delighted to be offered an interview by SANRAL, making sure he arrived thoroughly prepared. His preparation paid off. He was awarded the bursary.

“Being awarded a SANRAL bursary has taken enormous strain off my shoulders and I can now channel 100% of my energy into striving for academic excellence,” said the very humble Wiseman.

If the 94% he achieved for Engineering Mechanics in his first year is anything to go by, academic excellence is most certainly what this young man is all about.

Asked about the family he left back home, his mother is undoubtedly the rock who supported and encouraged him to dream, work and persevere. Her years of nurturing has also instilled in Mavuso the desire to help and reach out to others. Even with a heavy workload, he finds the time to mentor and tutor other students in maths.

Now in his second year of study, the scope of interest is already expanding and Mavuso has discovered a new fascination, particularly with exceptionally tall structures, the likes of which are found in cities like Dubai.

A patriot at heart, he has no immediate plans to set off into the wilds beyond the borders of SA. He would like to take lessons from the rest of the world and apply that to new developments in South Africa.

“Who knows? I may just be involved in the design of multi-level tunnels in the future,” concluded Mavuso with a wink.