With enough hard work, even the stars are within our reach

We all love rags to riches stories. The underdog who overcomes all odds to succeed on the world stage appeals to something elemental in all of us. But Dr. Lerothodi Leeuw’s story is even more significant. Instead of riches he has chosen to serve humanity as a whole.

Born in a remote corner of the North West province, Dr. Leeuw made sacrifices throughout his life in order to succeed. He attended school more than 200km from his home and then won a scholarship to the prestigious Phillips Academy Andover in the USA.

Imagine a teenager from a rural African village arriving in the USA to attend one of its top universities. Imagine the courage and determination required to succeed in that environment and then go on to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A lifelong student, Dr. Leeuw now has five degrees in disciplines as varied as physics, creative writing, and astronomy.

But Dr. Leeuw’s first passion remains astrophysics, a discipline which has earned him a place in NASA’s legendary SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute. And this passion extends to his homeland as well. From his post at Wits University, Dr. Leeuw works to inspire and train the next generation of African star gazers.

Dr. Leeuw’s story is so remarkable that it has inspired a quite poignant TV advert, soon to be appearing on our screens.

Although Dr. Leeuw’s story is particularly dramatic, most professionals can easily identify with his sense of purpose and determination. The discipline required to master a field requires sacrifice and delayed gratification. Changing the world is not a relaxing endeavor. No one has solved the world’s problems sitting on a couch.

But it’s not all hard work. Professionalism, once achieved, brings its own rewards. For example Profmed is a medical aid that caters exclusively to professionals who have obtained a minimum of a four year degree or its equivalent. If you’d like more information, you can contact Profmed here.

In these turbulent times it would be easy to fall into Afro-pessimism. Figures like Dr Leeuw remind us of how much can be achieved through sheer determination and hard work. Let’s celebrate these success stories and work to make them more common in our next generation of young people.

NOTE: This post was sponsored by Profmed. However I would have happily have shared Dr Leeuw’s story on my own accord if they hadn’t brought it to my attention.