Inspiring 64-year-old woman graduates in electrical engineering

Randeka Constance Nghonyama
Randeka Constance Nghonyama
Papi Morake

Randeka Constance Nghonyama from Malamulele, Limpopo, is proof that perseverance pays off and it will get you somewhere in life.

Randeka received a national diploma in electrical engineering at Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) spring graduations in October this year.

In an interview with Move! the 64-year-old said she went back to high school at the age of 40 and then completed matric at 43.

She dropped out of school when she was younger because of personal reasons and got married at the age of 17. She then pursued a career in the retail industry.

“I decided to go back to school because I knew I have always been clever and at that time, I didn’t like the job I was doing, where I earned R200 a month, so I made the decision of going back [to school].”

The graduate said she initially wanted to study nursing, but after years of applying at colleges and not getting accepted, she decided to apply for an electrical engineering diploma.

She applied at TUT in 2003 and was accepted at the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE).

“I applied for engineering because I had enjoyed physical science and mathematics a lot in school, and I also wanted to challenge myself and see if electrical engineering was as difficult as they had said.”

Like any other student or human being, Randeka had some challenges. She had to juggle being a wife, full-time student and a mother.

“It was not easy as I faced a lot of challenges, such as financial difficulties, failing some modules due to age-related challenges, being in class with younger students and running an entire family while studying full-time.”

In 2010, Randeka finally decided to take a much-needed break, but that did not mean she was giving up.

Dumezweni Reuben, a technician at the FEBE, told Randeka that national diplomas would be phasing out and he managed to convince her otherwise to register again.

“I was left with only one subject and I registered and managed to do my practical P1/P2 with the electrical engineering department and my project with the Centre for Energy and Electric Power at the Pretoria Campus.”

Randeka completed all her modules in June this year and that is how she finally saw her dream come true,and graduated at the spring graduations.

The graduate said she wishes to inspire many old people to study further and follow their dreams, she also told Move! that she has been promised a job by a company but cannot reveal more at the moment.

“Education is the key to everything therefore people should go back to school and better themselves, so they can have any kind of job they wish to have.

“Never give up; perseverance is the key to everything; always make sure you finish what you have started; and, most importantly, chase your dreams because if you don’t, nobody else will do it for you.”






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