The road to securing his academic dream was not easy one for Thobelani Thango, who graduated Cum Laude for his Diploma in Financial Accounting during the first session of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics this morning (Tuesday, 14 May 2019), at the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, Steve Biko Campus in Durban.
Coming from the deep rural areas of Nquthu, Thango is the youngest of two, who was raised by an unemployed mother. “My mother did not want me to continue with University after matric because she had no money,” he said. However, despite not having the finance, this did not deter the determined Thango, who proceeded and applied for his Diploma, with the assistance from his also unemployed sister. His sister worked odd jobs just so that he could afford to do his registration and obtain finance for his first semester accommodation fees.
Thango excelled in his first semester with an 80% aggregate, and was able to obtain a fee remission to continue with his studies. However, he was unable to pay for residence. “I was not fortunate enough to receive money from my family every month like my peers, so I had to utilise the resources I had,” he stressed. He would assist students with their academic work and get paid for his tutoring. He believes that this was also a way for him to practice his academic ‘know-how’ and study at the same time.
During his first semester he joined student politics and was able to gain more information about the types of funding available for students. He then applied for NSFAS and got funded for his second year of study.
“I did not join politics for political reasons, but for me to be able to help others like me,” he said. Thango is also a member of the DUT SASCO and ANC Youth League.
One of his biggest challenges was being a child born and bred in the rural area, and not being exposed to a lot of information about the different courses, funding and how to apply to universities. His passion for helping others did not only stop at University level. During University holidays he tutors matriculants in Nquthu, and assists in providing knowledge to the students who are willing to pursue their higher education. He also advises the youth about all the different courses available, how to apply for space in universities and for funding.
Thango believes that in order to succeed in life one should always remember to believe in oneself.
Pictured: Thobelani Thango.