Nkosinathi Gumede* is in trouble. A fourth-year medical student at a top Cape Town university, his results are impeccable. He made the news in 2015 for gaining nine distinctions in his matric year at a township school in rural KwaZulu-Natal. Even as he started university studies, he was tutoring pupils in the sprawling township of Khayelitsha. This model student ticked all the boxes. Then, disaster struck.

Without warning, Nkosinathi’s circumstances changed. His family started to feel the strain. This past Christmas was one of the saddest yet — there was no food in the house. It was all just too much so the young man decided to withdraw from university and find work.

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