Bachelor of Social Science student, Mr Khulekani Thombo is back in South Africa after five months at the Université de Tours in France on an exchange programme.

Thombo, a third-year student majoring in Philosophy and French, said the fondest memories of his sojourn were of meeting French students and sharing ideas with them on the current world situation.

He relished experiencing a different culture and believes this developed his world view. ‘I learned to respect and appreciate people for what they are.’

Thombo says he also learned to question life because an ‘unexamined life is not worth it.’

While the trip was life changing, it was not without challenges. The medium of instruction was French, but the young Francophile improved his grasp of the language and he is now more confident speaking French. 

Another hurdle he faced while abroad was financial challenges. He credits UKZN French lecturer Professor Bernard DeMeyer for ‘helping me get through it.’

Thombo plans to focus his future academic endeavours on French and Philosophy. ‘I want to become a doctor/professor in philosophy and French because French people fascinate me and challenge me to be aware of what I do and the influence I have on other people,’ he said. ‘What interests me is the philosophy of language because it examines the problems of language and its usage.’

Born in Newcastle, Thombo attended Sisizakele Primary School and Mzamo High School.

He thanked his parents, six brothers and two sisters for being supportive throughout his studies.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photograph: Supplied