International student’s dreams cut short by car accident

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Kapoko Neville Mathopa during his graduation at the Shandong Jianzhu University in China.

Kapoko Neville Mathopa from Ratau Location in Thaba Nchu lived his ultimate dream when he got to study Mandarin and Civil Engineering in Jinan, China for five years. However, his dreams were cut short when he died in a car accident on Sunday.
Mathopa recently posted on his social media about his amazing achievement and had the media in a frenzy. Among others, he was number one out of all the students all over the world to graduate in a record time at the Shandong Jianzhu University in China. He also mentioned in his social media post that he obtained a total number of 33 distinctions, which was for almost all of his modules. Unfortunately his dream of becoming the engineering powerhouse everyone hoped he would become, was short-lived.
His sister, Lucy, told Bloemfontein Courant that he was accepted to study Civil Engineering at the Central University of Technology, Free State in 2014, but she told him about the scholarship to study in China. He was very interested and asked his sister to get more information. He subsequently sent in an application and met all the requirements.
“He told me: ‘My sister, I know I am young but I am willing to study abroad and reach my potential in another country.’ At first I was a bit reluctant to let him leave our side, because he was so young, but when my mother agreed for him to go, we were all very excited and happy for him,” she said. Mathopa graduated in June 2019 and returned to South Africa in July 2019. His studies were funded by the Free State government.
“He had plans to start working in South Africa and to also one day start his own company,” his sister added. “My brother used to send us progress reports on how things went at university, so we were not shocked when we heard he obtained 33 distinctions. We were just waiting for him to come home so that we could celebrate his victory,” she said.
The lecturers from Shandong Jianzhu paid him and his family a visit in December 2018 before he graduated, because he had already received his results. His sister described him as a very inspiring young man who was always eager to learn.
“We will always remember his beaming smile, his conversations and most of all the fact that he wanted to do all of this for his mother. Mathopa will be laid to rest on 15 February at 1761 Ratau Location, Thaba Nchu. – Heidré Malgas
heidré@mahareng.co.za