Graduate capped 17 years after completing degree

11 June 2013 | Story by Newsroom

Joseph KhohlokoaneJoseph Khohlokoane, who graduated 17 years after completing a BSocSci, attended his graduation with his wife, Zoleka (far right), and daughter, Palesa. His employer, Willem Venter, drove the family to Cape Town for the graduation.

Teboho Joseph Khohlokoane (45) graduated at UCT on 7 June, 17 years after completing a Bachelor of Social Science. Without a degree the only work he could initially find was as a petrol attendant. He later became a cleaner at the Breedevallei Shell Ultra City outside his home town, Worcester.

Q: Why did you study social science?

A: I wanted to become a social worker because I wanted to help people help themselves. Two years into the course I was told that because I stuttered I couldn't be a social worker. I then changed my course to social science.

Q: How did it come about that your debt was paid and the way cleared for you to graduate?

A: About two months ago one of the cashiers at the filling station told the son of Clarence Johnson, a former mayor of the Winelands (District) Municipality, that I was educated. I was mopping the floor at the time. He told his father, who then spoke to someone in the office of the director-general of the department of higher education.

A month later, I got the news that I would graduate. I was very excited about it.

Q: What do you hope to achieve now that you have graduated?

A: I would like to work where I am able to help people, perhaps in development. I'm also planning to do my honours and master's.

Q: What's your message to people who find themselves in the same situation as you?

A: Be patient, persevere, hope and have some faith. You must pray hard.

Q: What are your memories of your life as a student at UCT?

A: It was a great privilege to study here. I was in res at Liesbeeck Gardens. We knew how to party.


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