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Friday, 02 July 2021

Drive to succeed

GRADUATE:  Cecil Weale GRADUATE: Cecil Weale

PhD graduate Cecil Weale’s hope is that his late parents are looking down on him from heaven, proud of his achievements.

Born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, he was only eight when his mother passed away.

“I was raised by a single father, during the height of the economic plight in the country.”

His father, Rodney Weale motivated him to excel.

“After work every day, he would sit down with me and help me complete my homework for the day. He maintained this kind of encouragement throughout my tertiary level studies.”

Weale’s academic prowess earned him a bursary which enabled his retiree father to carry him through high school.

“By the grace of God, I was awarded the Zimbabwean Presidential Scholarship, through which my undergraduate studies at CPUT were fully funded. Following the successful completion of my BHSc in Medical Laboratory Sciences, I enrolled for a Master’s in Biomedical Technology, which I completed with cum laude, in one and a half years.”

He then enrolled for the PhD in Biomedical Sciences.

“Unfortunately, my father was not able to witness the completion of my PhD, having passed on a year before I submitted my thesis.”

Weale’s thesis is titled: MicroRNA profiling and validation in mixed ancestry individuals in South Africa.

He was supervised by Prof Tandi Matsha and Prof Glenda Davison.

“I was fortunate in that both my postgraduate degrees were fully sponsored through NRF (National Research Foundation) grant-holder bursaries from my supervisor, Prof Tandi E. Matsha.”

He said the lecturers in the Department of Biomedical Sciences always had time for their undergraduate students and groomed them to be thorough and competent medical laboratory scientists.

“My supervisor, Prof Tandi Matsha, has always been very supportive…always pushing me to be the best version of myself, and giving me the platform to put myself out there, as a biomedical researcher, sending me to international conferences to showcase our research. If it was not for her, I would not be where I am today, as I had no means to fund my postgraduate studies, and I probably would have been forced to move back to Zimbabwe.”

Weale is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the SA Medical Research Council/CPUT Cardiometabolic Health Research Unit.

He has the following message to young people who may be in a similar situation as he was growing up: “If you have passion and drive, the only forces that will prevent your success are your own doubts. Believe in yourself and be relentless in your pursuits because one day you will excel.”

Written by Ilse Fredericks

Email: Frederickskennediji@cput.ac.za