Full Name: Kgothatso Bapela
Work Address: Nedbank Head Office
Kgothatso Bapela was born and raised in Zebediela, Limpopo, to a single mother who worked very hard to put her five children through school.
Growing up, Kgothatso always knew what she wanted to do; study biotechnology. This made her work very hard in school to get good grades. She remembers her matric year, when she and her friends were applying to varsities and had to walk long distances to go and post their applications.
Kgothatso studied for a BSc in Biochemistry and Microbiology, most enjoying performing practicals at the lab, like DNA extraction and biodiesel production.
However, she struggled to find a job and decided to start her own small bakery, selling muffins, cupcakes and scones. In 2015, Kgothatso got an internship through the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), to work at a science centre at North West University for one year. After her internship, she went back home to take care of her mother who’d been diagnosed with a brain tumour. She then stayed home for about a year, later finding a job as a cashier so she could support her family.
Thanks to the YES programme, Kgothatso is currently in the Digital Fast Lane cluster, which she describes as an amazing space to work in. She is learning a lot from working with people from different specialties like design, data science, quality engineering and solution architecture. Kgothatso is gaining relevant work experience that she feels will certainly open many doors for her in the near future. She concludes, ’I’m grateful for this opportunity YES and Nedbank have given me because I now know that my experience and skills will enhance my career. I’ve also learnt that it’s not about what you studied – it’s about the desire to learn and constantly upskill yourself.