Against all odds UniZulu’s Mondli emerges as an academic champion

AFTER lack of financial support forced him to put aside his dreams of furthering his studies when he completed his matric in 2011, Mondli Buthelezi is now a Bachelor of Education graduate.

Buthelezi, who had to take a job as a salesman and later as a cook at a fast food outlet, graduated with 14 distinctions at the University of Zululand on Monday.

Despite matriculating with an average mark of 75%, Buthelezi had to take a detour because his family could not afford to send him to university.

‘In truth, I had no plans when I finished matric because I was aware of my family’s poor financial situation.’

‘The saddest part is the fact that while I was in matric, I was in a study group and I tutored many of my peers who, when we matriculated, received bursaries while I didn’t,” Buthelezi said.

His aunt, unhappy with his situation, helped him enroll at the university and he was accepted as a BE student.

‘When my aunt applied I didn’t take the matter seriously as I had given up on my dream of going go to university. I had a job and was helping to provide for my family.’

Hard work has propelled the 24-year-old to be named as one of Unizulu’s Faculty of Education’s top achievers.

‘I worked very hard. My two friends and I also had a friendly competition between ourselves to see who would get the better marks and we all graduated with good marks, so I am very excited about being one of the top achievers in my faculty. It’s all I’ve ever wanted since I enrolled for my degree,’ Buthelezi said.

He encourages young people who come from poor backgrounds not to give up on their dreams and to take up every opportunity given to them.

“If God gives you an opportunity, use it wisely. Don’t waste it. Hard work pays off. It’s not about how smart you are, but how hard you are willing to work to get what you want.’

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