The inspiring 64-year old Randeka Nghonyama, from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, rejoices after receiving her National Diploma in Electrical Engineering recently.
Due to circumstances, she could not finish high school but completed grade nine at the age of 40 and matric at the age of 43. Wanting to study nursing, she then applied at a number of universities, with no luck.
She then applied for Electrical Engineering at TUT and commenced her journey with the institution in 2003. It was not plain sailing, but she refused to give up. Over the seven years she was enrolled, she faced an number of challenges, including financial difficulties, failed some modules due to age-related challenges, being in class with younger students and running an entire family while studying full time. In 2010, she finally decided to take a break.
In 2017, Dumezweni Reuben, a technician at FEBE, informed her about the phasing out of National Diplomas and convinced her to register again. Left with one subject she registered and managed to do her practical P1/P2 with the Electrical Engineering Department and Project with Centre for Energy and Electric Power at the Pretoria Campus. She completed all her subjects in June this year.
Despite all the challenges she faced during her studies, giving up was one option she never considered. “I wanted to prove to myself that despite coming from a painful childhood, I can do anything I put my mind to. As the older generation, we must go out and attain new skills, while the younger generation should keep pushing us,” she said.
She added that she was excited to finally graduate and receive her National Diploma. Her plans include furthering her studies and looking for employment with the hope of inspiring others to follow their dreams and never look back.