The Face of Resilience

30 April 2014

Thirty-nine-year-old Mninawa Ntshongwana used to sweep and dust lecture rooms at UCT. Now he learns here, on track to graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work at the end of the year.

Mninawa Ntshongwana worked as a petrol pump attendant and as a bus driver, and in a variety of other jobs after being forced to give up law studies at the University of Transkei in the Eastern Cape where he was born and raised by his grandmother.

That was many years ago. His path to social work at UCT has been anything but direct. But his unique journey, countering poverty and prejudice, has allowed him to build resilience, understanding, acceptance – and a determination to succeed.

It's rare that a student is chosen to be the guest speaker at a pledge ceremony, but Ntshongwana's story serves as such a powerful reminder to his fellow students – that there are many stuck in cycles of hardship and poverty, but with talent and ambition, with the right help at the right time, there is hope.

Ntshongwana received a standing ovation at the end of his talk.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.