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“Initially I thought Cum Laude was for students who were top achievers coming from high school. I had no ambitions of obtaining Cum Laude until I received my final year academic record for my diploma. That is when it dawned on me that, if I had worked hard from the beginning, I would have obtained Cum Laude. It was then my ambition to achieve Cum Laude for my degree,” said Njabulo Fisokuhle Mngomezulu. 

The 23-year-old graduand will obtain the prestigious Cum Laude Award for his Bachelor of Technology in Quantity Surveying at the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Virtual Autumn Graduation ceremony, on Thursday, 27 May 2021.  

He is excited that his hard work was rewarded at the end.  “Cum Laude is like a cherry on top of a cake,” he said jubilantly. 

 Mngomezulu, who describes himself as someone who enjoys talking about philosophy and wisdom, is the second to last born out of four siblings.  

  “I was born in Ubombo, the Northern part of KwaZulu-Natal, I grew up in Jozini during my primary school days and moved to Eshowe, where I had my secondary education in one of the boarding schools,” he said. 

He expressed his gratitude to both his parents who have invested their lives for his education, however they never lived to reap the fruits of their hard work, but he is confident that they would be proud of their decisions and investment. 

Mngomezulu, highlighted that he is not upset that he cannot experience the physical graduation ceremony, saying that fortunately his family has had the experience through his diploma graduation. 

“I am not big on graduations and public ceremonies; in fact, I am happy about the virtual graduation ceremony. Therefore, this will not have a tremendous effect on me,” he said. 

Getting to excel is not without some tough times and for Mngomezulu, the tough part about university is social groups where one can find friends struggling for a place to sleep and another friend who is stressed about keeping up with the latest technology gadgets.

“The financial constraints of being a student and the uncertainty of the future, also proved to be challenging for me at times,” he said. 

For Mngomezulu, the fun part about university was learning about cultural, racial, and spiritual differences of his friends, which broadened his perspective about life.  

Speaking about his field of study, Mngomezulu said that he always had the desire of working for the National Intelligence Agency but no one had recruited him.  

“Construction development was what I wanted from high school days and Quantity Surveying deals with that aspect,” he said. 

He explained that his short-term goal is currently to be registered as a professional body in his field of work and to gain vast experience in the job he currently has. 

“My long-term goal is to work for SADC as a development and project manager. African community development is close to my heart. The world for me is an oyster I am still young. I believe the eye have not seen, nor heard what this world has in store for me,” he said. 

Pictured: Njabulo Fisokuhle Mngomezulu 

Waheeda Peters 

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