He excelled so much in his studies that he skipped some grades.
He was promoted from grade 4 to grade 5 at Thulamahashe Lower Primary School, and later from grade 8 to grade 9 at Orhovelani High School, where he matriculated in 2015.
As if that was not enough, Decent Mkhombo started his first year at the University of Limpopo’s new medical school in Mankweng outside Polokwane, Limpopo, at the age of 15.
On Wednesday, 15 December, the 21-year-old from Thulamahashe, Mpumalanga was among 47 young medical doctors who took their oath at the university after completing their degree.
Decent, who comes from a family of five, said he was finally happy to be acknowledged as a doctor after six difficult years.
“This is because in medicine, your mental health is tested because you come face to face with the reality of death every day. But I’m delighted that I’ve finally completed my degree.”
He said that the journey had its ups and downs, where he learnt the hard way that there was more to personal development than just studying and working.
“I pushed myself as I needed to complete my studies.
“There are things I’d like to change, including some decisions I made and people I met along the way.”
Decent is now looking forward to exploring various medical disciplines so that he can choose his specialty.
“My next step is to work as an intern around Mpumalanga. I want to give back to the community by being a good doctor and saving lives.”
His advice to the youth is to trust themselves. “Be yourself, and believe in what you are doing and want to achieve. Be patient, work hard and you will eventually succeed,” he said.
Vice-chancellor Professor Mahlo Mokgalong said the medical programme demonstrated government’s commitment to meet the shortage and high demand of professionals in SA.
Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba said: “We will ensure that medical school continues to get the necessary support to grow.”