06 May 2022 | Story Dr Nitha Ramnath | Photo Supplied
Thuso Lempetje
Thuso (Julius) Lempetje.

“Stop settling for things you know you don’t like” and “loving what you do can open doors for you” certainly holds true for Thuso (Julius) Lempetje, who graduated against all odds with a Bachelor of Management Leadership (BML) from the UFS Business School in April 2022.

Fresh out of matric in 2012, Lempetje worked as a cleaner in the Centre for Business Dynamics, hoping to study one day. An avid reader, Lempetje often borrowed books from Danie Jacobs, the former manager of the Centre for Business Dynamics. Mostly business-related, the books motivated Lempetje to understand the world of business. Lempetje’s breakthrough arrived when the Centre for Business Dynamics offered him the opportunity to study towards the Management Development Programme (MDP). Although it was not something he preferred to do, Lempetje nonetheless seized the chance to supplement his matric certificate with another NQF level.

Lempetje did not stop here – after completing the certificate programme, his motivation to continue studying was further boosted by his exposure to students from all walks of life and age groups in the Business School. Taking on the BML was no easy feat, particularly since Lempetje did not have the extensive work and management experience for work-related assignments as his peers in the cohort he was studying with.

It was not easy for Lempetje to complete his degree, as some of the modules required practical experience. This forced Lempetje to dig hard and to open up his curiosity to how things work in the business world. 

Lempetje’s advice to students and anyone who wishes to study, is that “you should never link age to studying and regardless of your age, your brain is never too rusty to study”. He adds that, “studying really does open the mind to new and innovative ideas”. 

“There is a lot of motivation in the UFS Business School, as it gives opportunities to adults who never thought they would have a degree in their life,” says Lempetje.  “Seeing older people study and work while also parenting, shows that there is more to life than the limitation we set ourselves by saying that we are too old to study, or we are too busy to study. Once you finish, you realise that you can actually do this, and you stop settling for things you know you don’t like.”

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