Meet Our First Graduate2016-05-27
Mbono Kwela became the first graduate amongst those who had received the Moses Kotane Institute (MKI) financial support, and he was awarded his National Diploma in Building from the Durban University of Technology on 22 April 2016 and made the Institute and his family proud.

Hailing from Mpola in Dassenhoek, Mbono Kwela was raised by single parent, Nkosazana Kwela, who works as a domestic worker make ends meet for her son to get a better education. Nkosazana said that she was fortunate to have received financial relief from MKI. She thanked the Institute for supporting her son from grade 10 to tertiary level.

Moses Kotane Institute selected Mbono after a rigorous recruitment process, long queues and hot days. Mbono showed potential and he was in a group that was determined to succeed, said Thembelihle Majozi of MKI. He did not give up even under this recruitment process, and made it to the group of learners that went to Burnwood Secondary School to study grade 8 to 12 in the following years. Sbahle Simelane, the MKI Business Development Manager thanked him on the day of his graduation, citing that this project of offering STEM bursaries to students was close to her heart, and that she had seen some learners falling and not completing their studies. "It takes a person who is focused and has courage to go through this process and to complete studies despite challenges" she said.

Natasha Singh, who had been part of the learner recruitment said it was a heart-warming process to recruit such learners, and urged Mbono to go back and help his community as much as possible, as there are children in a situation as he was in years ago. She also wished him all the best with his future endeavours.

Mbono did not go through this without challenges. His first challenge was the books, not getting books on time delayed him and his mother had to try to find money for books. The second challenge was the transport to school. Getting to school on time was a challenge, because he had to take a train everyday for him to get to school, and trains were never on time. He was usually late for his first lecture. Whenever he was writing tests or exams, he had to take taxis due to fear of missing the papers, and this cost him more. Mbono thanked MKI for making his life easier and removing the burden from his parents for 6 years.

His strategy to succeed was to choose determined and like-minded friends with similar intention to succeed. He mentioned that he probably would have been a street kid trying to make ends meet. He also thanked his friends, and wished that others follow in his footsteps and prioritise their studies. He looks forward to pursuing his Bachelor of Technology right up to a doctoral degree.

"Finishing the diploma on record time and being the first graduate in my family are my first biggest achievements", he said.

Sibusiso Mpungose, the CEO of MKI congratulated Mbono on his graduation day, and said "it's all in your hands, go and tell others, develop new set of skills, build networks in life and continue to learn". He further said that young people of this country must dirty their hands with education.

Mbono looks forward to furthering his studies, getting employed and starting his business once has enough experience.

Article by Thandeka Ellenson
27 May 2016