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  • DUT Alumni


Sthembile Mthembu (23) from Mayville, Durban is proud to have triumphed against all odds and obtained her National Diploma in Library and Information Studies. She graduated Cum Laude at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Celebratory Autumn Graduation ceremony held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Durban International Convention Centre on Friday, 15 July 2022.

Despite missing out on some classes due to data and connectivity challenges, having the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) as her only source of funding, she also had a baby during her final year of study. She indicated that it was difficult to maintain her school work and her pregnancy. She recalled writing a test in the labour ward where the doctors shouted at her, accusing her of stressing the baby, but she continued as she wanted to make sure that she excels in her exams.

“Having NSFAS as the only income wasn’t easy but I knew I could not call at home because they were also going through various financial struggles, so I had to use NSFAS for food, clothes, toiletries and more. I said to myself after all, the only important thing is going to school and getting knowledge, what I am wearing is not important,” added Mthembu.

She was also ecstatic that she managed to shine, despite the challenges. “I went to Cato Crest Primary School and later went to Mayville Secondary School where I finished my matric. My journey at DUT wasn’t easy, staying in one of the DUT residences, I would sometimes face NSFAS issues. I said to myself that I will give my studies my full attention, no matter what negative circumstances I encounter through the journey. The new environment wasn’t easy, being away from my parents, often surrounded by wrong people but I kept my head focused until this day. I am very proud of myself,” said Mthembu excitedly.

Some of the challenges she faced while studying online was missing classes due to network issues. However, she made it a point to listen to all the recordings of the classes she had missed.

Mthembu further revealed that her mother was not shocked when she heard the news that she obtained Cum Laude as she has been passing with flying colours since her primary school years. At first, Mthembu revealed that she wanted to be an engineer but later changed her mind after her good experience with the library assistants at a library she used to visit. “I loved the communication I had with library assistants and I said to myself that I wish to help people like them and work in an environment where I get to communicate with people face to face and learn from their views, understanding their opinions,” added Mthembu.

She expressed her gratitude to DUT for hosting the celebratory graduation ceremonies, since it was giving the graduates a chance to be celebrated as they wished. Mthembu plans to further her studies to a PhD level and publish a book relating to the field of library science and the available opportunities that people are not aware of.

Pictured: Sthembile Mthembu.

Picture Credit: Sandile Nkosi.

Simangele Zuma

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