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Skhumbuzo Sypriel Zungu from KwaHlazakazi village in Blaauwbosch, Newcastle is among the Durban University of Technology (DUT) students who will be honoured for their academic excellence at the Spring Virtual Graduation, to be held online on Monday, 30 November 2020.  

He will be obtaining his Dean’s Merit Award for his National Diploma in Public Administration (Disaster and Risk Management).  

Like most students, he said his journey at DUT had its ups and downs.  

Being awarded the Dean’s Merit Award came as a huge shock to him, he said he did not even know what is means.  

“No one in my family knew that this award even existed, I am from a very cultural family (Amabhinca) which embraces Zulu traditions more than most other things. However, after I had explained what a Dean’s Merit Award is to my family, they were overwhelmed with joy. My mother is still the happiest, happier than I am,” said Zungu.  

He said his main focus at DUT was to study and pass every given assessment so he could one day help his single mother, Zodwa Nkosi to raise his six siblings.   

“In every given assessment, I always aimed for at least 50% of the total mark, anything beyond that was a bonus. I think that is how I managed to achieve this great award. I got very excited when I heard that my name was among students with good grades, it built my confidence even more,” said Zungu.  

A better life for his family is all he wishes for and hopes that through his hard work, his wishes would come true one day.  

He revealed that he never knew his father, he died when he was still a baby, before he could even speak. He said even though it is painful to grow up without a father, he directed that pain to working hard and appreciating his family.  

At the moment, Zungu said he is in Johannesburg in search for a job or internship as he believes he needs at least two years’ experience to qualify for Disaster and Risk Management related jobs.   

He plans to further his studies to attain as much information as possible in his field of study and also inspire his siblings who are yet to take this route too.   

Commenting on the virtual graduation, Zungu said DUT has made a great choice.  

“Coming from the Disaster and Risk Management group, I think the virtual graduation directly contributes to mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 and its negative impacts in our society. Furthermore, it saves us a lot of money. I no longer have to have transportation fares for myself and my guests from Johannesburg and Newcastle to Durban; to attend my graduation, graduation gowns, clothing, food and every other experiences associated with graduations,” said Zungu.  

Lastly, Zungu advised students to never forget why they enrolled to study at DUT. He said students can have fun, join sports, gyms or political groups; or whatever they like, but they should never put any of those before the ‘main reason’ they became DUT students.   

Pictured: Skhumbuzo Sypriel Zungu  

Simangele Zuma  

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