Mathematics is traditionally perceived as a difficult subject but 28-year-old, Dr Simo Mthethwa, from KwaZulu-Natal wants to break that stereotype.

Mthethwa recently graduated with a PhD in Mathematics, making him the youngest black mathematician in the province.

Simo Mthethwa was always fascinated by numbers and little did he know that this love would burgeon and set him apart from the rest.

 “I’ve always had a passion for maths. It is in my nature. Well there are people who inspire me in mathematics but the passion was already there,” says Dr Mthethwa.

Mthethwa did not allow long distances to school to deter him from pursuing his dream.

At home Mthethwa is one of 14 siblings. He lost his mother a day before his first graduation but he turned the pain into his biggest motivation.

“It was a very difficult time in our family because his mother had been the one supporting him in his studies and she didn’t even get to see her son graduate,” says his aunt, Lindiwe Mthethwa.

Mathematics remains one of two subjects rated as difficult in the country.

Some learners even believe that it’s an academic subject with no employment opportunities.

Mthethwa wants to change this perception. He says the subject is not the problem but it’s the system in which it’s taught that is flawed.

Mthethwa is currently a lecturer of mathematics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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