A maid has done what many fail to do, get a degree.
Thanda Gwija, 32, last week Friday received an SMS saying she qualified for her bachelor of education degree at UNISA six years after she decided, at 26, to go back and complete her matric.
Gwija, a resident in Effingham Informal Settlement, Durban, studied by candlelight in a shack she shared with her sister. She spent nights poring over material at various libraries and even slept outside the university to secure a loan in order to achieve her dream.
Thanda also did not feel confident about her English and paid to have private lessons with an English professor.
“I dropped out of school after Grade 11 believing I could make a better future by finding a job and working my way up the employment ladder. My father was against the move and kept encouraging me to go back to school. He felt education was important and believed if you are uneducated, you work hard but earn less, and with an education, you work less but earn more. I refused, thinking I knew better,” she said
She said during her time as a helper, she realised her father was right. Gwija was determined to go back to school, finish matric and go even further.
“I decided I wanted to get into teaching and inspire and motivate children, who were in similar positions to me, to stay in school and get an education. When I got an SMS last Friday saying I had qualified for my degree, I just burst into tears; I was ecstatic and was so excited. I immediately phoned my dad to tell him, he was so pleased and proud of me,” she said.
Gwija is planning on completing her honours degree and remains optimistic about securing employment at a local school. She added thousands of young pupils, especially in disadvantaged communities in South Africa, lacked direction and motivation.
“I’ve worked for the Cameron family in Durban North for four years, and like my father, they have always supported me with my dream. So many people feel helpless and want to give up. If I had someone motivating me and believing in me when I was in school, life could have been different.
“I want to say to the youth of South Africa, you have to always be positive and believe anything is possible,” she said.
Source : Online