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Hard work has finally paid off for the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Shanzelle Ntanzi who has completed her qualification with Cum Laude and the esteemed Dean’s Merit award.   

“My eyes were filled with tears when I first read my results,” she said.  

Ntanzi is proud of herself as she has completed her Diploma in Public Management after struggling for years to get to study at a tertiary institution. She says among other reasons, starting her first year at aged 24 has pushed her to excel in her studies. Ntanzi will be graduating on Friday, 28 May 2021, during the DUT’s Virtual Autumn Graduation ceremony.    

“It is particularly a proud moment for me, seeing that I am the first one in my family to ever go to tertiary level and graduate, graduating with such honours is like a cherry on top. This is my greatest achievement to date. I still cannot believe that this is what I have accomplished,” she said.   

Ntanzi says she grew up watching evening news with her father and that is what made her fall in love with Public Management.  

“I grew with interest in how Laws are made and implemented, how the government operates and how it would feel to be a public servant,” said Ntanzi.  

 It is unfortunate that her father passed on without witnessing her graduate, nonetheless Ntanzi says knowing that her father went to eternal rest after receiving the news that she has indeed obtained Cum Laude, makes her happy. 

“I feel disheartened that there will not be a physical graduation because I feel like I was robbed of a proper celebration and the honour that comes with it, but I also do understand the difficult position that the pandemic has placed the world in. Keeping safe and saving lives will always be paramount to a celebration in this pandemic,” she said.  

Explaining some of the challenges that she faced during her academic journey, Ntanzi said: “My greatest challenge was being away from home, but I knew that my goals would not be achieved without sacrifice. The workload was huge but not that challenging. I feel like my greatest challenge came during the hard lockdown in March 2020. Having to adapt to online studying was challenging in the beginning. Being confined to the walls of my home and being on my laptop and phone for almost eight hours a day was tiring but I had to push through, draw up my own timetable and stick to it religiously. Discipline was key in getting myself to study hard and still perform at my best despite not having my lecturers around physically or resources such as the library or WIFI.”  

Sacrificing family time was not easy but it was worth it for Ntanzi. Regardless of all the obstacles she had faced, including financial constraints, Ntanzi’s motivation rose from her desired future.    

“Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, I did not get the opportunity to study earlier but I would have grabbed that opportunity with both hands if I could. I think that was my greatest motivation because I felt that this was my first real chance of making something of myself. That is what kept me going and studying hard these three years and it has finally paid off. I don’t take any opportunities for granted,” said Ntanzi.   

“My advice to first-year students embarking on the same career path is to study hard and limit all distractions,” she said.    

Pictured: Shanzelle Ntanzi   

Nikiwe Sukazi   

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