Single father’s unwavering hope gathers community’s support

PHOTO: suppliedThe resilient Mthembeni Cele.
PHOTO: suppliedThe resilient Mthembeni Cele.

A SINGLE father of two from Mtwalume has not given up on his dreams, despite experiencing consistent hardships in his pursuits of a better life for himself and his family.

Unisa law student Mthembeni Cele touched many hearts on the South Coast when he posted a touching message on the Hibiscus Coast Seconds Facebook page reaching out to anyone who might be able to employ him. In the post, Cele said that the situation was so bad that his family had not had one meal that day.

His post received a lot of support from the community and Cele managed to get job offers for part-time jobs.

“I will use both my part-time offers to provide for my kids, and try to save for my studies. I understand that it will not be easy, but I have to at least try,” said a hopeful Cele.

Raised by his late grandmother with his four siblings, Cele is no stranger to hardships. However, through relentless hard work and perseverance, he is well on his way to realising his dream.

“Growing up I always wanted to be an advocate. I used to read books with stories of court cases in them and I developed a passion for a career in law. Books like Isgcawu Senkantolo by Mishack Masondo and Iphisi Nezinyoka are where I developed my great love of becoming a legal representative. I was a very reserved person and I had a strong sense of line arguments in debates at school,” said Cele.

He said he first enrolled at Unisa in 2008 for communications studies because the law faculty was full. Living far from campus and with no money for transport, Cele missed most of his assignment deadlines and ended up having to deregister. “I also had only paid half of the registration fee in the hope of raising the rest - unfortunately I was unable to and ended up having to drop out,” said Cele.

After deregistering, Cele sought work and found odd jobs which managed to get him and his family by, however he had not given up on his dream of becoming an advocate. “I re-applied last year during the second semester and again the financial struggle continued.

“I did not get my examination results, but I am sure I passed. At the beginning of this year I registered, hoping to also benefit from the free tuition for first-year students from NSFAS, as was publicised, but even after I wrote to the SRC, financial department and NSFAS, I couldn’t get any assistance. I also joined the Feenix crowd-funding for students, but I was never funded. I then realised that I should wait for the next semester and try to gather money in the time being.”

To all the other young people with an unwavering dream like him, Cele says do not let a poor background be an excuse to give up on your dream.

“I believe nothing that can stop the mind from dreaming and pushing. Nothing comes easy in life, you have to move out of your comfort zone and not be choosey when looking for a job because work is scarce. It’s better to take any job until you find your dream job, and also not to misuse the job,” said Cele.

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