For 22-year-old Sithuthukile Charmaine Makhanya, having a goal of finding a cure for cancer is what prompted her to study for her Bachelor of Health Sciences in Radiotherapy. She will be graduating with Cum Laude and the Dean’s Merit award, at the Durban University of Technology’s Virtual Graduation ceremony on 10 June 2020 at 12pm.
She did stress her sadness that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in person graduation ceremonies were not possible. “I was looking forward to be conferred by the vice-chancellor and principal Professor Thandwa Mthembu. However, I am happy for the opportunity to be part of the virtual graduation ceremonies,” she said.
Dedication and hard work were the key factors which led her to obtain Cum Laude and the esteemed Dean’s Merit award.
“Cum laude was not a surprise to me since I am not the first one in the family to obtain it. I was more excited about the Dean’s Merit award. I was not expecting to receive it, so when I found out I was ecstatic, my family is proud of me. My friends said they were expecting it and are not surprised. I am still processing it in mind,” she expressed happily.
Studying has been a tough ride not just for Makhanya, but also for her classmates. Being the first-degree programme in their course, it was very challenging for them, especially in their final year. “We were expected to go to practical’s during the day and afternoon, and meet up with groups for research, which were draining. 2018 was one of the hardest years of my life. I lost my father during my first semester exam. I had to remain strong and I told myself that now I am doing it for him. I owe him a lot as he made sacrifices for my siblings at home to get quality education. This degree belongs to him, he was always saying 2020 is the year for your graduation,” she said.
Currently, she is doing her community service at Addington hospital, which is one year of working for government, which means she is still in a process of pursuing her goal of finding a cure for cancer. “I would like to study further for medicine with goal of becoming an oncologist one day,” she said.
Pictured: Sithuthukile Charmaine Makhanya