Domestic worker graduates with BA degree in social work: 'She taught us about diligence, focus and humility'

Annamore Mabhii. (Photo: Supplied)
Annamore Mabhii. (Photo: Supplied)

Annamore Mabhii, 34, originally from Zimbabwe, recently completed her BA degree in social work at Unisa – despite facing many challenges along the way.

Annamore, who’s a refugee, earns a modest living as a domestic helper. Her youngest child also has cancer.

"We couldn’t even celebrate my graduation ceremony because we don’t have money," she told YOU.

YOU found out about Annamore’s feat when Adri Hugo from Brackenfell,  Cape Town, posted about it on Facebook. Annamore has worked for Adri since 2011.

"She’s such an inspiration. I don’t know how she manages it all," Adri says.

Last year Annamore’s four-year-old son Ryan was diagnosed with brain cancer. He’s the youngest of her three children.

- Health24: Cancer

"It was hard. He had to have an operation to remove the tumour but they couldn’t get it all because it’s too close to his brain steam. So earlier this year he had to have radiation," she tells us.

Annamore and her husband, Chrispen Chimwamafuku, fled Zimbabwe in 2007. They’re still living in SA under refugee status.

Despite holding two degrees Crispen has struggled to find steady employment in SA.

"He’s a science teacher and also studied social work. He has an honours degree in educational psychology," Annamore says.

READ: ‘I’ll live to honour her’ – Njabulo Ntombela on his graduation with his grandmother

Crispen is now teaching at a local school but his contract expires in February next year. 

Annamore started working as a domestic helper to put food on the table, all the while dreaming of furthering her studies.

"Both of us are passionate about studying. There were times we had trouble affording food but we knew we needed to persevere with bettering ourselves. We couldn’t just give up," Chrispen tells YOU.

Annamore believes their education has better equipped them to deal with Ryan’s illness. 

"We’re helping our children and the community to process it," she says. 

Adri says her family owe Annamore a debt of gratitude.

"Despite Ryan’s illness and her family’s tough financial circumstances, Anna is always smiling. She has three children and still managed to complete a degree. There’s no chore that’s beneath her. She taught us about diligence, focus and humility," Adri says.

Ryan is due for a follow-up doctor’s visit next month and the family are hoping for good news. 

"I’m hoping to work in my field of study. I want to help people – it’s my passion," Annamore says. 

She specifically wants to work as a counsellor and has already registered to complete her honours degree. 

"I still owe R7 900 for my honours. I don’t know where the money’s going to come from but it will all work out."

Adri says she was quite emotional when she attended Annamore’s graduation ceremony last week. 

"God must send her on the path intended for her. We’ll miss her, of course, but she’s capable of so much more," Adri says. 

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