Delny Mashudu Demana (23) did not let her circumstances stand in the way of reaching her dream.
She lost her mother when she was nine and was raised by her father. Also, she fell pregnant in matric and had to take a gap year before she could enrol at TUT.
“I fell pregnant during my final exams. I was scared. I listened to people who told me to forget about my dream because I had apparently destroyed my future. However, one thing I have always taught myself is to keep on pushing and knocking on doors because one day, the right door will open,” says Delny.
In 2018, she applied at TUT. Although she had no financial backing, she came up with ways to make money for her to provide herself with all her basic needs. She got a job as a waitress and worked nightshifts while attending class during the day.
“One thing I never anticipated was how demanding studies could be, and halfway through the year, I had to quit my job, which, at that stage, was my only source of income,” she says.
She had to stay with friends for months because she could not afford rent and other essentials. But, she received a lot of support from them and they gave her some of the money they received from NSFAS to sustain herself.
“I was adamant not to let my circumstances get in the way of my dream.”
Her application for NSFAS funding was unsuccessful at the first attempt but she persevered and put shoulder to the wheel.
“After attaining four distinctions in my first year, my friends encouraged me to try for NSFAS funding again.” She submitted a new application with a motivational letter, explaining her situation.
This time around, the application was successful. She says her dream had never felt as vivid as it did the day she was informed that she received funding.
“I believe that my tough upbringing moulded me to be the strong person I am. Today, I am an intern for the Letaba Herald which falls under the Caxton Group, one of the biggest media companies in the country,” she says proudly.
Delny advises young people to never give up, no matter how bad the situation may be. “Always remain hopeful and aim high,” she concludes.