Cape Town – Where there is a will, there is a way!
This is how the life of Nigerian-born Danté Gbejewoh, 29, can be summarised, as he heads to Canada on Tuesday to begin his doctoral studies at Queens University in Toronto.
His, has not been an easy life but that of having to sacrifice and remain focussed on his studies to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor.
He saw himself living at the Elim night shelter in Elsies River after he left his home and his family in Delta State in Nigeria in 2018 on a one-way flight to Cape Town, with a plan to continue his studies.
According to City Press, he has been staying at the shelter for the past four years while he completed his master’s degree in agriculture at the University of Stellenbosch.
“When I first came into the country, I could not get a job… even though I was educated, I had a degree. So it was really hard and I ended up in a shelter because I wasn’t able to pay my rent outside.
Wanneer Omamuyovwi (Danté) Gbejewoh Dinsdag op die vliegtuig na Kanada klim om sy doktorale studie aan die Queen’s Universiteit in Toronto te begin, gaan Shafeek en Liza Ortell daar wees om hom op die lughawe af te sien.
👉 https://t.co/TfdNqYJJKU || @JulianJansen pic.twitter.com/d6IE8F3zCs
— Netwerk24 (@Netwerk24) August 28, 2022
“It wasn’t easy to study or to write exams, especially during the lockdowns. Everybody was inside the shelter, so it was noisy, really compact and rowdy.
“But over time, I learned to tune out all the noise and all the destruction and just focus and get my head down, read, study and write my exams,” The Star quoted Gbejewoh as saying.
But where did he get the money to study?
According to IOL, when he arrived in Cape Town and realised that he was unable to pay both tuition and accommodation, Gbejewoh moved to the shelter and, while working as a security guard, he was able to save R40 000 to pay for the first year’s tuition in the two-year Master’s degree programme in sustainable agriculture. His second year was funded by the university.
The report said that Gbejewoh, who is set to depart on Tuesday, intends to focus his research on food systems and how to introduce indigenous crops and plants – grown over thousands of years through harsh conditions – into modern-day diets amid climate change and severe food insecurity.
When Danté Gbejewoh boards a plane to Canada on Tuesday to begin his doctoral studies at Queens University in Toronto, Shafeek and Liza Ortell will be at the airport to see him off https://t.co/LRR0dzXhxw. pic.twitter.com/1aHxODFykK
— City Press (@City_Press) August 29, 2022
He reflected on his stay in the country and said: “South Africa has been a very wonderful country, very good to me. I met a lot of loving and warm people, especially in the shelter and outside. I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss the people here. It wasn’t really easy, especially with coronavirus, but I think over time, I got the hang of the place and it’s been wonderful.”
According to City Press, Shafeek and Liza Ortell, house parents at the Elim Night Shelter for the homeless, will be at the airport to see Gbejewoh off.
They reportedly said that they were unaware of Gbejewoh’s academic achievements and aspirations.
“We are glad that we were there for him when he needed support. He is a beautiful person and a joy to have at the night shelter. If I had known, I would’ve given him a better place to study in. There was so much noise around, I don’t know how he did it,””Shafeek was quoted as saying.
Picture: Twitter/ @HunganiNdlovu
Compiled by Betha Madhomu