Perseverance is the mother of success

2011-06-25 16:34

Security guard by day and student by night. After three long, hard years, Ntombi Mathe has graduated from university.

And she has ­inspired three colleagues to ­attempt to do the same.

The security guard at the ­University of Zululand and mother of four took on a degree in business ­administration full time and would attend classes between working her shifts.

She said: “I knew that I was ­doing the right thing. Despite some hardships along my journey, I was convinced not to give up. If you want to study, don’t waste time. It’s never too late.”

Her perseverance has not gone unnoticed. She has inspired three of her security guard colleagues – Philani Nsele (39), Samkelisiwe Ntshangase (24) and Gabriel Ntuli (33) – to study.

Ntuli is studying towards a ­degree in development studies, while Nsele and Ntshangase will graduate with degrees in education studies next year.

Nsele says: “Ntombi showed us the way. She told us about the ­NSFAS (the National Student ­Financial Aid Scheme) and other important things like perseverance. We ­became closer as we had the same visions and goals.”

When Mathe was unable to ­attend classes, fellow students stepped in and supplied her with notes and course information.

“Perseverance is the mother of success. You have to set your goals straight and you will succeed,” says Mathe.

She started working as a security guard in 2007, employed on a ­contract at the university’s ­protection services department.

“If only our high school teachers informed us of bursaries, I would’ve grabbed the opportunity at an early age. We were taught that universities are for the rich,” she says.

But when she finally set foot in the university, she decided to use the opportunity to register for a ­degree.

When things didn’t go her way, she almost quit, but her family was supportive of her ambition to study. She passed her first year with ­flying colours and was encouraged to continue.

“I was so happy. I knew that I was doing the right thing for me and my children, but when I saw my results I was convinced that three years is nothing,” she said.

But Mathe, who is still working as a security guard, is yet to receive her degree as she owes the university outstanding fees.

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