Eight distinctions and a secure future, first week at Wits University was a breeze for Triphin Mudzvengi

Triphin Mudzvengi was stuck at home in the North West three weeks ago with eight matric distinctions but little hope of studying further.

But this week she was navigating her way around Wits University – and getting lost trying  to find her lecture hall – with a bright future ahead.

Mudzvengi started attending civil engineering classes on Monday after good Samaritans read about the plight of the 18-year-old whose parents could not afford to enrol her at university to study engineering.

She could not apply for financial assistance through some of the traditional routes taken by South African students because she is Zimbabwean. She arrived in SA with her family a decade ago. As an asylum seeker, she could also not approach her embassy for help.

Mudzvengi said on Friday that it felt overwhelming to be rubbing shoulders with students at Wits: “It feels really good, still overwhelming.”

Like many first-year students, Mudzvengi was still trying to find her way around the campus and had, on one occasion, got lost.

“On my first day I got lost trying to find the lecture venue,” she said.

But in the company of new friends, she won’t have to get lost alone.

Her struggle to get into university went viral after her story was published by GroundUp. Pledges for financial help started rolling in.