From Rural KwaNyuswa to Bachelor of Education Graduate
In the heart of the Valley of a Thousand Hills outside Durban, lies the small rural village of KwaNyuswa where Ms Noxolo Mtiyane grew up.
Rurality has its advantages but also disadvantages sometimes because of the shortage of opportunities for advancement. However, Mtiyane refused to get discouraged and rose up above the limitations rural life often imposes, working hard to ensure she was always top of her class!
And now Mtiyane is a Bachelor of Education graduate, with UKZN awarding her the degree cum laude!
‘It is such a great feeling to graduate and to make my family proud,’ she said. ‘This degree is a testament to all my hard work and the sacrifices my mother made for me to be able to study, to become a teacher and to help my family.’
Mtiyane was raised by her single mother, a domestic worker in Gillitts who she still lives alongside her sister, 10 aunts and siblings. Most of the adults at home are unemployed.
When the domestic work got too much for her mother, Mtiyane would go along to assist. The meagre salary earned by her mother helped provide for Mtiyane’s primary school education at Botha’s Hill Primary School and then at KwaNtebeni Comprehensive High School at KwaNyuswa.
Through the Department of Education’s Funza Lushaka bursary scheme, Mtiyane enrolled for her Bachelor of Education degree at UKZN’s Edgewood campus in 2013.
During the four years of study, Mtiyane obtained several distinctions, two Dean’s Commendations and 11 Certificates of Merit, two of which were in Teaching Practice. Her majors were Education Studies, Travel and Tourism Education and isiZulu Mother Tongue.
Her lecturer Professor Thabisile Buthelezi said: ‘Noxolo is a bright student. I taught her in her final year modules of isiZulu Mother Tongue 410 and 420. I was impressed by her work. In one of her assignments for the traditional literature section, Noxolo showed her analytical skills by using a folk narrative that was told at home by their grandmother, titled Inkosana Eyayingathathi (The Unmarried Prince).
‘In her analysis, Noxolo drew from the folk narrative to show a theme of respect from different perspectives - such as respect for adults and senior citizens, self-respect, respect for people from across social classes and the language of respect. Her argument was that the lack of this value of respect in a person is self-destructive. Noxolo is a dedicated student and she deserves to graduate cum laude.’
Mtiyane advised other students to work hard, have self-belief and to reach their goals. She thanked her mother, family, friends, lecturers and the Department of Education for their support.