Braimoh Bello

Lecturer, author and founder: Beyond Tomorrow

When Nina Simone sang "Oh [to be] young, gifted and black� she might have been thinking about Braimoh Bello, an accomplished medical scientist, motivational speaker, author and poet. Bello obtained his master's in medical microbiology from Wits, capping it with a PhD in occupational reproductive health from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Despite his busy schedule as a lecturer at Wits Bello, through his brainchild initiative Beyond Tomorrow, finds the time to motivate and inspire high-school learners and postgraduate students to achieve academic excellence. "My situation was no different from that of any other African student when I was growing up. But I never allowed this to stand in my way and I believe students who come from similar backgrounds can push the boundaries and achieve their goals,� he says. That is why he hosts workshops and visits schools around the country to share tools and tips that may help students and learners to overcome academic obstacles. Beyond Tomorrow enables him to give practical effect to his vision. He recently published a book, Beyond Tomorrow: Fundamental Principles for Achieving Academic Excellence, as part of the initiative. "I do what I do because I believe there is potential in every one of us,� he says. Bello believes most students fail not because they do not have the potential to reach their goals but because they lack focus and appropriate role models. His slogan is: "We can change our future if we really try and aspire to acquire our desires, which we admire. Do not retire even when you feel tired but refire to acquire your desire.�� Thabo Mohlala

Website: braimohbello.com