Survivor: Michael Tladi, with former UCT vice-chancellor, Mamphela Ramphele, has been awarded a special EBE faculty award as a student who has overcome all odds to graduate.
Determination and the realisation that education is the key to success motivated Michael Tladi to move from the streets to the graduation podium at UCT.
Tladi, an employee of the Western Cape government, is writing his exams for one more course, and is set to graduate with a BSc in mechanical engineering in December.
In May, the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment (EBE) presented him with a special faculty award as a student who has overcome all odds to graduate. The event was the first for the faculty and will be hosted annually.
Tladi said of the honour: "This award has brightened my day and regenerated my soul's smile."
Tladi tells how he survived on the streets from age five until he was in Grade 11, selling goods on street corners and using the income to buy food and to go to school. While in Grade 11 missionaries from the US helped him enrol at UCT, joining the extended academic programme in EBE.
The faculty also presented the John Martin Memorial Prize to Wilson Macua for the best BSc student in the Academic Support Programme in Engineering Cape Town; Naadiya Moosajee for establishing the South African Women in Engineering; Brennan Hodkinson for starting a UCT branch of Engineers without Borders; and Malebogo Ngoepe for setting up the South African Science Foundation for Youth.
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