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  • DUT Alumni


Sphumelele Mthembu (20) of KwaMashu, Durban will graduate Cum laude with a Deans Merit Award at the 2022 DUT Spring Graduation. The prestigious ceremony will be held at the Durban Exhibition Centre on Thursday, 29 September 2022

Mthembu, commenced her academic journey at DUT in 2018 where she registered for a Diploma in Shipping and Logistics under the Faculty of Applied Sciences. Graduating Cum Laude with the Dean’s Merit Award had always been her prize and she kept a focus and dedicated attitude towards her studies.

“Since the beginning of my studies, I have always prioritised academic excellence, gathering as much knowledge and obtaining excellent marks,” she said.

Mthembu confessed that her academic journey at DUT has been nothing but an exciting phase of her life, hence challenges were there and so are the lessons that propelled and drove her to excel phenomenally in her studies.

Evidently Mthembu encountered challenges as a student and one of them was work they did as a group. She shared that being placed with students who contributed with minimum efforts to group assignments was challenging and made things difficult for the rest of the group and she would find herself backed up against the corner. She had to step up and do the work to ensure that the group obtains good results. Another challenge she had to endure was the adaptation that came with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 was the biggest challenge as one had to adapt to the changes and introduction of online learning,” explained Mthembu.

Receiving help from her fellow classmates as well as going through her textbooks and study guides assisted her to overcome the challenge at hand.

“However, to overcome this I ensured to go through all textbooks and study guides by myself even after having a lecture as well as communicating with hard working students in my class to form study groups and meet on campus to learn,” explained Mthembu

She considers herself deserving of this eminent accolade, as she deems herself to be a hard worker,

“I can confidently say I deserve it; I have always been a hard worker with an aim of achieving the best results, I enrolled at the university with an optimistic mindset and graduating Cum laude and the Dean’s Merit Award has proved it, this is an overwhelming yet blissful moment for me,” said the delighted Mthembu.

Her family was just as excited upon receiving the news on her academic excellence.

“My family was extremely emotional and excited when they heard that I would be graduating Cum Laude with the Dean’s Merit Award. My granny cried and prayed as she was overwhelmed with the news, my siblings screamed, they are all grateful and proud of me,” she said..

In her childhood she had interest of pursuing medicine studies or any health-related course in particular. “Growing up I have always had an interest in studying medicine or any health-related qualification in another province,” said Mthembu.

Sadly, after she got sick during her matric year, she became so anxious of being away from home, especially in a different province, she then chose other careers and in her search she began to have an interest in the maritime field.

“Researching about Shipping and Logistics made me much keener on learning it which resulted in me applying to pursue a career in it. I then developed a passion and love for the field as I continued studying it which confidently makes me say I do not regret choosing this unique, broad and interesting field,” explained Mthembu.

She relayed words of thanks to the following people: “The amazing tutors and lecturers that I met at DUT contributed to escalating my love for Shipping and Logistics which resulted in excellent results, I’m also grateful that the university made means to ensure the academic year was not compromised during the pandemic. “

Mthembu, advised fellow students to learn to engage with those who have better understanding and knowledge in order to learn more and know the secrets to achieving greatness in their academics, in life and at the university as a whole.

Her ultimate goal is to be qualified in multi paths of the Shipping and Logistics field and also gain vast experience by obtaining numerous qualifications, as she envisions herself studying towards the doctorate level.

“I want to become one of the greatest women in the field,” concluded the ambitious Mthembu.

Pictured: Sphumelele Mthembu

Nonkululeko Ngcobo

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