For Phumzile Mthembu, a strong desire to obtain a second qualification was behind her successfully completing her BTech in Library and Information Studies, despite facing several challenges along the way. She graduated Cum Laude with the Deans Merit Award this evening (Tuesday 14 May 2019) at the Fred Crookes Sports Centre, Steve Biko Campus in Durban.
Mthembu said the main reason for her to enrol for a BTech was because she felt that her National Diploma, which she obtained in 2003 had become stagnant and almost all employers disregarded it now. “Having started the course (BTech) at Unisa but I couldn’t finish it due to unforeseen circumstances, I felt I had to complete it no matter the circumstance and for my own personal growth,” she said.
“My journey as a part-time BTech student was not a smooth ride. I faced financial difficulties in paying for my first year as I am the sole breadwinner at home and I had just bought property and relocated to Pinetown in order for me to be able to do this course. This made me regret why I even enrolled in the first place,” she said.
“For my first test and assignment I was really furious as I got the average mark of 58 and 56 respectively. I panicked and from there on channelled all my free time to studying as I have a huge fear of failure. This worked in my favour as I never got anything below 65% after that. Second year I got a study bursary from my employer, the Department of Arts and Culture and this eased the load on my shoulder. Juggling work and single parenthood as well as my studies was challenging and fun at the same time. Working out of town was a huge challenge as I had to miss classes at times,” she added.
The Empangeni-born Mthembu said she is excited and proud of her achievement. “Though graduating Cum Laude was not a set goal for me while studying. My main aim was to do the best I could possibly do and set an example for my daughter, niece and nephews. So this achievement is a pleasant surprise and a great honour,” she said.
Mthembu currently works for the Department of Arts and Culture as a Promotions: Librarian, and is considering enrolling for a Masters degree next year, (2020).
Pictured: Phumzile Mthembu.