The Oxbridge Academy Medal for Succeeding Against the Odds

The Oxbridge Academy Medal for Succeeding Against the Odds is an award for students who have succeeded in their studies despite any physical, educational, social, or financial obstacles that they have faced. The Medal is awarded to three students each semester, and is accompanied by a Special Merit Award that covers 30% of the course fees of the recipients’ next course at Oxbridge Academy.

The aim of this award is not only to recognise students for their excellent academic achievements despite their difficult circumstances, but also to motivate, inspire, and encourage other students facing similar struggles. Through this award, we also hope to make it possible for some of our students to further their studies in situations where they may not otherwise have been able to do so.  

Succeeding Against the Odds – July 2016

The recipients of the Oxbridge Academy Medal for Succeeding Against the Odds in July 2016 are:

Tsebiso Nkaki

In 2014, Tsebiso (a third-year geology student) and his sister had to drop out of university, as their father was retrenched. With only a Matric certificate and an incomplete university academic record in hand, Tsebiso then tried to find employment at the mines, but all in vain. His situation became even more difficult when his girlfriend later fell pregnant, and he was still unemployed.

To make matters worse, his father fell ill and was hospitalised for three months. Due to his father’s illness, his mother was forced to quit her job as a domestic worker. Tsebiso said:

My mom had to quit her job because of my father’s conditions which were worsening each and every day. One day, as sick as [my father] was, he took my hand and told me that winners are those who persist, those who never give up no matter how hard it can be. Though it wasn’t as easy as it sounded, I stood up and started a small family business called Nkaki Family Corporation; it specializes with cleaning products and community services. So far I’ve hired three people and hope to increase the number by the end of this year.

With his own business, Tsebiso hopes not only to employ more people, but also to provide bursaries, and to “encourage young people who are struggling with jobs to never stop dreaming but rather work hard and be creative.”

Tsebiso says that even though he did not expect to return to his studies, Oxbridge Academy has made it easy for him through affordable fees and clear, relevant study material.

Tsebiso has shown great entrepreneurial spirit, determination, and the will to succeed despite being faced with many obstacles. For this reason, we are proud to name him as a recipient of the Oxbridge Academy Medal for Succeeding Against the Odds.


Nadia van Heerden

Nadia registered with Oxbridge Academy because she believes that education is the key to success. For the past five years, she has been working as a Beauty Advisor in the retail industry, and she says that “there’s a lot of challenges in the beauty industry and there is always a new beauty trend coming out every year. Before I started to register as a student, I had a lack of self-confidence in myself all the time, because according to the people I am just a lady who is selling cosmetic products and it’s not like that.”

Aside from the difficulties she has faced in her career, Nadia has also experienced a difficult home life. In her motivational letter, she tells us that she lives with her brother, who has Bipolar Disorder, and who has threatened to take his life on numerous occasions. She also tells us how her mother is drunk almost every weekend, and shouts ugly words at her.

Despite the circumstances at home, Nadia believes that if you work hard, something good can come out of any situation, and that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. So far, she has managed to achieve high marks in all her assignments, and she lives by the motto ‘if you dream it, you can achieve it’. To other students, she says:

“Remember that no one can take away what you have worked hard for. No one can take away your education.”

Even in trying circumstances, Nadia has shown strength of character, maintained a positive attitude, and achieved success in her studies. For this reason, we are happy to name Nadia as a recipient of the Oxbridge Academy Medal for Succeeding Against the Odds.


Riziki Mushamuka