‘I sold my taxi to pay my son’s varsity’

2017-05-07 06:01
Quintine Mkhondo Picture: EYEscape

Quintine Mkhondo Picture: EYEscape

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Stanley Mkhondo sold his taxi four years ago to pay for his son’s registration fees at the University of Pretoria because he believed in the boy’s future.

Last week, Mkhondo (45) was rewarded for that sacrifice when his son Quintine graduated with a BSc degree in actuarial science at the age of 19.

Quintine wrote matric when he was just 15 and completed his degree within the prescribed time frame.

“I didn’t even know what actuarial science was when Quintine told me he wanted to study it,” said Mkhondo. “I just knew I had to make it possible for him.”

Quintine grew up in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga with his mother and grandmother. His parents separated when he was young and his father now lives in Soshanguve near Pretoria.

“My teachers thought I was bright enough to skip a few grades and I went along with it, not realising what was really happening,” said Quintine about how he finished school so quickly.

Initially, he wanted to study medicine, but applicants require 80% for maths to qualify and he obtained 78%.

“The first year at university was a big adjustment because I was barely 15 and suddenly I had to do my own washing and cooking. But I knew I had to work hard because my parents had made so many sacrifices for me.”

He rented a room near the university and his parents sent along what little money and food they could. The rest of his studies were funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

Mkhondo said the taxi was his only source of income when his son needed the registration fees.

“I worked at Bavaria as an operator, but the company closed its offices in Gauteng and I was unemployed. That’s when I started to drive people around in the minibus,” he said.

Quintine said it was a tough decision for his father to sell the taxi, and that he had no source of income for a while after that.

Mkhondo now works as an operator at SA Breweries.

The proud father said that he knew his son was extraordinarily smart when he was still a young boy.

“He was always very curious and asked questions about everything. When he was just six, he carried off a dictionary that I had borrowed from the library. He was very eager to learn.”

Quintine is now doing his honours and also works as a tutor at the department of actuarial science. He plans to open his own investment firm one day and is currently part of a group of graduates who teach residents in townships about investments.

Read more on:    university of pretoria  |  mpumalanga

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