Nonhlanhla Mokoena

Nuclear physicist, Koeberg Nuclear Power Station

Nonhlanhla Mokoena is a posterchild for perseverance. As a girl, she sold sweets at school and later worked as a domestic worker to supplement the household income. At 15, Mokoena fell pregnant and decided to keep the baby. With dogged determination and the help of an encouraging grandmother and supportive teachers, she went on to matriculate, and continued to university. She is currently working towards a master's in science. Now a nuclear physicist at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, Mokoena is also in demand as a motivational speaker and mentor. When talking to learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, Mokoena urges them to think broadly and keep their eye on the goal. "It's not about riches,� she says, "it's about the mind.� � Faranaaz Parker

Lunch spot: Moyo, Stellenbosch