From general workers to graduates


Three former general workers at the two major Bloemfontein academic institutions have once again proven that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Two Central University of Technology (CUT) employees, Thieka Aletta Mhambi and Bafedile Ruth Mothae, obtained diplomas in Office Management and Technology, and Thuso Lempetje graduated from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Business School with a Bachelor of Management Leadership.

Thieka Aletta Mhambi and Bafedile Ruth Mothae

Mothae who started working at the CUT as a cleaner in 2010 and later moved to the Grounds and Gardens Unit said: “I’m proud of myself. It has always been my dream to study further. When the University absorbed us, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to fulfil my career dream. In 2016, I gathered all my courage and enrolled for a Diploma in Office Management and Technology. This was a giant step in my life. I was terrified and intimidated due to my lack of confidence, but through God and the support I got, I’m graduating.”

Mhambi joined the CUT in 2012 as a cleaner under a private company and in 2017, she was permanently employed by the institution. She said: “We struggled to access anything and everything. I’m thankful for my perseverance and a will to carry on. I managed to pass my matric against all odds. Post matric, I had to look for a job to help put food on the table and assist my siblings in furthering their studies”.

Thuso Lempetje

Lempetje worked as a cleaner in the Centre for Business Dynamics from 2012 to 2014, hoping to study one day. He often borrowed books from Danie Jacobs, the former Manager of the Centre for Business Dynamics. The books motivated him to understand the world of business. His breakthrough came when the Centre offered him the opportunity to study towards the Management Development Programme.

“There’s a lot of motivation in the UFS Business School, as it gives opportunities to adults who never thought they would have a degree in their life,” says Lempetje. “Seeing older people study and work while also parenting shows that there’s more to life than the limitation we set ourselves by saying that we’re too old to study, or we’re too busy to study. Once you finish, you realise that you can actually do this, and you stop settling for things you know you don’t like.”

Justine Fortuin