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Cum laude For DUT Student Who Endured Two-hour Long Train Rides To And From Durban Daily

Cum laude For DUT Student Who Endured Two-hour Long Train Rides To And From Durban Daily


Media Statement by Alan Khan, Senior Director: Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology

A two-hour long train ride to and from Durban everyday and consistent studying were sacrifices Noxolo Mthembu, a Bachelor of Technology Tourism Management student at the Durban University of Technology, had to make in order to obtain her diploma.

She may not know much about the social scene but this 20 year-old can tell you a thing or two about hard work and its perks. She will receive a National Diploma in Tourism Management during the Faculty of Management Science’s graduation ceremony on Tuesday April 16, 2013. Unlike some of her peers, Mthembu will graduate cum laude and also receive the prestigious Dean’s Merit Award for Academic Excellence.

“To be honest, I’ve never even heard of cum laude or the Dean’s Merit Award. But I must say it’s really nice when hard work pays off. I feel humbled and really happy. I really can’t wait for graduation, it will be a day to remember,” said Mthembu after receiving the good news.

Attaining good academic results is standard for her. She was an above average student even in high school, sitting steadily at an aggregate of 70 percent. When she enrolled for Tourism Management at DUT in 2010, she intended to excel in her studies. Her goal was to get a bursary to pay her tuition fees throughout her three years of study. Unfortunately, Mthembu failed in this (attempt to get the bursary) and her father paid for her studies while doing the same for her three siblings. He never complained about his finances but, nevertheless, Mthembu wanted to lighten the weight on her father.

Her academic results were outstanding and these did not go unnoticed. Her department awarded her with merit certificates in first-year, yet she could not get a bursary that year. She remained optimistic, hoping to get one in 2011. At the time (2010), Mthembu seemed to have many misfortunes. “I didn’t get accommodation in any of DUT’s residences so I lived in a flat in the Durban CBD. My flat mates were a nightmare to live with. They drank and played loud music till very late and this interfered with my studies,” she said. When she could no longer bear to live in this environment, Mthembu moved back home in Shakaville, Stanger.

The year 2011 was a tough year for her. She travelled by train to and from Durban daily. “I had to wake up at 3am everyday to catch the 5am train. It was really tough because trains can get delayed along the way. But I had no choice because this was the cheapest mode of transportation,” she remembers. At the end of that year, Mthembu did exceptionally well in her studies, obtaining four As out of her six subjects. She qualified for a 50 percent remission of fees, a DUT incentive for academic excellence. Her third-year results saw her qualifying for this incentive again in 2012. She also finally got a bursary from CATHSSETA (Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority).

Mthembu is now pursuing a BTech degree in Tourism Management. After obtaining this qualification, she hopes to work as a tourism officer in the public sector. She also intends to further her studies to gain more insight about the business and marketing side of tourism. But over and above all, she wants to make both her father and family proud as well as give them a better life.

For interviews, contact Noxolo Mthembu on 073 040 7831. Her picture is available on request from Sinegugu Ndlovu.

Issued by:
Sinegugu Ndlovu
Durban University of Technology
Communications Department
Steve Biko Campus Durban
031 373 2845
078 924 2996