Thokozani Nkosi’s ambition was once to become a truck driver when he was still attending school in the rural village of Matiwane in Ladysmith.
Nkosi is now aspiring to become a Management Accountant and a Chartered Accountant, and he graduated on 09 May 2018 with a National Diploma in Accounting from the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
Nkosi who was raised by a single mother, working as a domestic worker said the rural community he grew up from, and the abject poverty he endured, didn’t inspire him to be ambitious about his future, to such an extend that he even despised everything associated with school and thought being a truck driver was his only hope.
“My poor background drove me into drinking alcohol when I was still in high school, even my teachers didn’t like me because I was a problem child. Drinking alcohol appeared to be my escape in order to fit in with my peers, so that I can have a sense of belonging and forget about my poor background. Luckily I passed my matric but with very poor marks and they were not good enough for me to enroll at University, and then I thought being a truck driver would be a huge achievement for me,” said Nkosi.
The shift in his mindset occurred when one of his cousins who is based in Durban told him that he needed to upgrade his matric in order to enroll at University, and invited him to stay with him in Durban. “In 2014 I moved to stay with my cousin in Durban to upgrade my matric. When I was about to rewrite my exams the principal from my former high school denied me the space to rewrite my exams because I was a problem child, until the intervention from the Basic Education Department and I was able to rewrite my exams. My cousin was very instrumental in guiding me with applications to different institutions of higher learning and encouraging me that education is important,” added Nkosi.
After upgrading his matric Nkosi received a firm offer to study at DUT, but faced challenges with raising the acceptance fee of R500 and registration fee of R2100. “I couldn’t register because I had not managed to raise the registration fee, unfortunately the closing date for applying for NSFAS was also on Friday. I only managed to register after my aunt had assisted me with the registration fee. I could not get accommodation from DUT residence as I was not a NSFAS student, and I had to get cheap accommodation in town where I was sharing a small flat with eight people,” explained Nkosi.
Nkosi said after enrolling at DUT he told himself that he needed to focus on his studies and nothing else. “In the first semester I knew that I need to pass all my modules with distinction in order to get funding or fees exemption as I could not afford to pay for my own fees. Luckily I managed to obtain five distinctions and our Executive Dean assisted me to register for the second semester, and again in the second semester, I also had to obtain five distinctions which I managed to achieve, “said Nkosi.
Nkosi survived on his younger brothers SASSA grants. “My mother used to deposit me R650 every month from my younger brothers SASSA grants, and with R550 I paid rent and R100 to keep me going for the whole month. I used to leave the library at midnight everyday because my flat was noisy and I also used the library as a destruction when I didn’t have anything to eat,” said Nkosi.
He said associating with like minded people is very important if you want to succeed academically, he also praised his tutors for their contribution.
Nkosi is currently pursuing two qualifications, a B-Tech in Cost Management Accounting from DUT and an Advanced Diploma in Accounting Science from Unisa. “The rational behind this is that my ultimate goal is to become a Management Accountant and a Chartered Accountant one day, even though it is challenging but I’m determined to achieve it,” said Nkosi confidently.