Mxolisi Mgolozeli is no ordinary protection services employee at the University of the Free State (UFS). This is after he obtained his masters degree in Governance and Political Transformation from the university. Mgolozeli (51) walked down the red carpet to receive his degree on Thursday (28/06) during the university’s winter graduation ceremony held in the Callie Human Centre at the university’s campus in Bloemfontein. His masters degree in Governance and Political Transformation is another feather in his cap. He already has a BA degree.Mgolozeli proved once again that it is never too late to learn, after starting his undergraduate studies at the age of 43. While some of his colleagues enjoyed family time after work, Mgolozeli would head straight for the library – a sacrifice which led to him being one of 12 students who received a masters degree in Governance and Political Transformation at the graduation ceremony. He attributed his success to an unshaken loyalty to his dreams and perseverance. “After almost 20 years of being out of school, having to start my undergraduate degree at the age of 43 was difficult. But it is all about commitment and sacrifice,” said a proud Mgolozeli. He has been serving the university since 2003 – initially as an ordinary security officer. He was promoted to supervisor ten years later. Mgolozeli’s 12-hour shift did not stand in the way of his strong ambitions of eventually transitioning into full-time academia. His journey to the big stage has not been easy, but with a supportive family, colleagues, and supervisor, he was able to triumph over all adversity. “It was not an easy journey, but I like education, so I think this motivated me.” Dr Tania Coetzee, who supervised Mgolozeli throughout his masters studies, commended her student’s tenacity. “As his supervisor, I acknowledge the fact that he has worked very hard and showed dedication and perseverance throughout the study.” Mgolozeli has ambition to work in a political environment but thus far his applications were unsuccessful. His research focused on the role of ward committees and their influence on community participation in the Mangaung Municipality.He conducted a comparative study between three wards which were distinct in terms of being underdeveloped, semi-developed and almost fully developed – wards 12, 14, and 19 respectively.The focal point of his research hinged on good governance practices and methods to improve good governance in the different wards.Some of the recommendations produced by the study include adopting the Integrated Development Planning, which will ensure that local government strategies involve the entire municipality and its citizens in finding the best solution to achieving long-term development as far as education, health, and socio-economic well-being are concerned.Mgolozeli would have started studying eight years ago but could not afford it during his early years. “To study after completing high school was part of my plan but I first started at the UFS in 2003, where one of the benefits is to study for free. I emphasise regularly to my two sons (aged 13 and 11), how important a qualification is. It opens doors for you, you can achieve anything, and in the process set you free of poverty,” said Mgolozeli.