Former UKZN Security Guard Graduates with Social Work Degree
‘I am so excited to be graduating. I still can’t believe it,’ said former UKZN security guard, 38-year-old Mr Thulani Jama, after being awarded a Bachelor of Social Work degree.
Jama took just five years – including a year in UKZN’s access programme – to complete his qualification.
It all began for Jama when he became friends with former Student Representative Council (SRC) member Mr Eketsang Diaho, who motivated him to start studying. Assisting with the application and financial aid process, Diaho smoothed the way for Jama.
‘Thulani had a family to take care of and we advised him to study. We could see that he was willing and able and had the potential to transform his life for the better,’ said Diaho.
Jama of Umzimkulu registered at UKZN, securing funding and a bursary for both his fees and residence.
‘I have five kids and a wife to support,’ he said. ‘I even sold airtime and some odd items to students to supplement my income. At first my wife wasn’t too happy about me studying as she felt I should have been contributing more of my time and finances to the family, but when she realised how much getting the degree meant to me, she supported me fully.’
Jama is a role model to his children, constantly motivating them to do well in their studies and to pursue their dreams. ‘I want them to do well in life. With this degree, I hope to find employment as a social worker within government and then be able to send my children to university.’
He is grateful to the SRC and UKZN for now giving him a future that he can be proud of. He is confident that as a social worker he’ll be able to change his community for the better and to help them realise their individual dreams.
His message to other students and researchers is to demonstrate a desire to study, to be dedicated and to be disciplined.
Jama hopes to one day complete a Law degree and to attend the graduation ceremonies of his five children.