Mother and son graduate

2011-04-20 00:00

A PROUD mother standing beside her child and smiling from ear to ear is a sight we are familiar with at graduation ceremonies. But it’s not often that you see a mother graduating alongside her son with the same degree.

So goes the story of the Bassages.

Forty-nine year-old Catherine Bassage and her son, Christopher (22), both graduated with a bachelor of commerce degree in economics and supply chain management in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Catherine was so excited that The Witness struggled to pin her down for an interview. She did not want to miss a single moment of cheering on her friends and enjoying the last chance to mingle with her younger peers, with whom she had developed a special bond and come to know as friends over the last three years.

Previously she held a half-day job and handled the administration in her husband’s business.

“My whole life people have been telling me that I needed to have a degree behind my name,” she said. When she found herself preaching the same message to her youngest child, Christopher, she decided it was time to lead by example.

“I was planning to register with Unisa, but unfortunately I missed the deadline.

“When I was at UKZN to pay registration fees for my son, I walked past student counselling and found out that I could pick up a module at the university for a semester.”

Catherine was originally registered to do accounts and economics for non-degree purposes. But she loved the experience so much, she did not want to leave.

Asked if he had to walk the straight and narrow having his mother around, Christopher said the pair had a mutual understanding that he is a student and he “would do student things”.

Catherine joked that she was not allowed to participate.

Christopher said they each had different strengths and would help each other as they were always together in the same study group.

“I’m good at maths so I helped her with that. But she would assist me with assignments.

Said Catherine, “What I also found useful was discussing what was shared during lectures because you grasp one thing and someone grasps another, but in the end you were all at the same level,”

They are both reading for honours degrees this year.

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