When Siyaya Mvelo left home on the 13 January 2014 with just his taxi fare, hope and a love for education, little did he know that in May 2017 he will graduate from Durban University of Technology with 30 distinctions.
Raised by his mother, Mvelo relied on his mum’s domestic worker salary and on his grandmother’s monthly pension. When Mvelo received the news that he had been granted a place to study at DUT, he was very excited. However, when he was planning to register at DUT in January 2014, his mother could not raise sufficient funds to cover the cost of his education, yet he still persisted.
“I remember when I left home, the only thing that I wanted was to further my studies, even though I didn’t have money for registration or accommodation,” said Siyaya. Although he left Vryheid with nothing, he will return with his National Diploma in Internal Auditing.
“Since I didn’t know anyone in Durban nor did I have money, I had to sleep in the 24-hour section of the library until the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) approved my application for funding,” reiterated Siyaya.
Even prior to studying at DUT, the 22-year-old passed his grade 12 with four distinctions out of seven subjects. Unhappy about his Senior Certificate results, he committed himself to making sure that he passes all of his subjects with distinction during his time at DUT.
“I had 10 subjects for each year and in all of my three years at DUT, I have been getting distinctions for every subject. Dedicating my time to my studies really helped me because when NSFAS could not fully fund me for my tuition, I qualified for the DUT remission ( which is a merit award for students that qualify to receive other bursaries or scholarships provided that they have an aggregate of 75% or more for each of their instructional offering for the year of study),” added Siyaya.
When asked what motivated him to obtain such remarkable academic results, Siyaya said it was his background and his hope for a better future for his family. “Growing up, I watched my mother and grandmother struggle to make sure that my six cousins and I had food, that we were clothed and that we went to school like all of the other children. Although my mum was sceptical of me leaving Vryheid for Durban in 2014, I promised her that our way out of poverty is through me,” said Siyaya.
Siyaya graduated earlier this morning (Friday, 12 May 2017 at 9H00) during the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics graduation ceremony at the Steve Biko campus in Durban.
Pictured: Yesina Jiyane (Mvelo’s grandmother), Mvelo Siyaya (the student who graduated Cum laude with a Deans Merit Award for his National Diploma in Auditing) and Nomusa Jiyane (Mvelo’s mother).