15 December 2021 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Supplied
Former UFS 2020/2021 Student Representative Council (SRC) member, Michael Mnguni describes the journey he travelled towards obtaining his BA in Governance and Political Transformation in 2021.

“I have travelled a long journey, from receiving my acceptance letter back in February 2017 after applying late, to obtaining a BA in Governance and Political Transformation in 2021. 

“I am the child of a single mother who worked as a domestic worker and resigned after I obtained my qualification. Her employer provided us with R10 000 to travel to Bloemfontein in 2017 – a day before registration was supposed to close – to pay for registration, which was about R6 000 at that time.” 

This is how UFS and former Student Representative Council (SRC) member, Michael Mgnuni, describes his journey from destitute student to SRC member and eventually UFS graduate.  

Mguni, who served on the 2020/2021 Bloemfontein Campus SRC responsible for the portfolio: Associations Student Council, said the hardships he faced instilled a desire for continuous improvement. 

“I did not have any form of funding, and back home no one thought I would make it to university because I did not get admitted to other institutions. I am a first-generation student and the firstborn in my family. The past five years have not been easy; especially when you are living far from home, you have to be independent and aware of what is happening in your surroundings.”

On 10 December 2021, Mgnuni became one of the hundreds of graduates who received their qualifications during the UFS virtual graduation ceremonies, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Governance and Political Transformation. 

“To obtain this qualification, I would go many days without food and study on an empty stomach. I was dealing with my own mental-health issues while attending to the well-being of others around me, because they became my brothers and sisters.” 

“My graduation journey was not easy; for the first four months at varsity, I travelled from Phahameng to school – living in my aunt’s back room. I had no funding, but my mother would send me money from the little she had, to ensure that I didn’t go to bed on an empty stomach. Through it all, I have conquered. My experiences inspired me to become a student activist, because I didn’t want prospective and returning UFS students to experience the same struggles I went through.” 

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