Growing in the Riverview flats in Worcester, Ronalda Benjamin knew that her family would not have enough money to send her to university, so she planned on working hard to get a bursary. To achieve this, she often had to stay at home while her friends were out socialising. It was never going to be easy, but thanks to the support of her family and friends, she got that bursary, went to university, and on the 16th of March 2016, the University of Stellenbosch awarded her a Doctorate in Mathematics. The name of her doctoral thesis was, Fredholm Theory in Ordered Abstract Banach-Algebras.
The past learner of Hoërskool Breërivier says that her hard work included sweat, tears, and almost giving up. There were times when she felt she could not do it, but she pushed past all of this and continued to achieve. One of the problems she faced is also faced by many young people growing up in poorer areas. She was the first person in her family to go to university so most of her family members did not understand why she wanted to go to university. In her family, as soon as you left school, you went and found a work. However, her parents supported her decision to pursue her dream and she had many other positive people in her life that encouraged her.
She is currently a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Stellenbosch and plans on becoming a full professor. She is a previous winner for outstanding achievement at Stellenbosch University and she plans on going to the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.
Dr Benjamin advises young people that grew up in difficult circumstances like her, that if you want to achieve your dreams, you have to sacrifice and you cannot give up. It is easy to give up and it is hard to continue. You will cry and you will feel sorry for yourself, but you must not give up.