Motivational Stories

40-year-old woman earns bachelor at the university she used to clean

Sthembile Mngwengwe, a 40-year-old womand, has earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal where she has worked as a cleaner for 14 years.


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Sthembile Mngwengwe who hails from South Africa earned her degree in Social Sciences. She recounted that her journey has been difficult since she had to juggle work and studies throughout her academic journey. “Balancing work and studies gave me a lot of stress,” she said.

Sthembile Mngwengwe also explained that her motivation by being on campus and seeing the prestigious offices that professors occupied as she cleaned. “I was motivated by being on campus too, seeing students walking up and down going to their lecture theatres to attend classes made me wish to be them,” she said.





Sthembile Mngwengwe, a single mother of a 20-year-old young woman, added that she wanted to set a good example for her daughter by showing her that circumstances should not stop her from attaining a degree. She was awarded a scholarship by the university which further motivated her.

Elaborating on her resolve to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, Sthembile Mngwengwe stated that she had always had the desire to become a graduate but was unfortunately unable to do so since at the time of enrolling at university, her parents could not afford to pay for her education.


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Sthembile spoke about the way he fellow students have supported her throughout the program. She said that they did not care about the fact that she was older, that they treated her as their friend, and that they helped and encouraged her.

She has announced that her degree will now allow her to find a better job. He friends, colleagues, and family have been celebrating her success by organizing several parties.





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