20 April 2023 | Story Nonkululeko Nxumalo | Photo CHARL DEVENISH
Londiwe Mabaso received the Dean's Medal for achieving the best results for a first degree in the Faculty of Education.

A yearning to help hearing-impaired learners in the classroom is what convinced Londiwe Mabaso to pursue studies in education. Years later, the University of the Free State (UFS) student – who also overcame barriers as a deaf student – accomplished her goal by obtaining her education qualification with distinction.

Making the achievement even more remarkable, Mabaso also received the Dean’s Medal for achieving the best results for a first degree in the Faculty of Education during the April 2023 UFS graduation ceremony.

“I couldn’t believe that I was the one receiving the Dean’s Medal – I was so excited. Seeing everyone in the Callie Human Centre praising me for my achievement gave me such confidence. I felt like the star of the day, as some people asked to take pictures with me,” she said.

Journey to success

Reflecting on her journey, Mabaso credits the UFS Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) for providing sufficient support to assist with her studies. “The centre ensured that I had access to everything I needed, including financial support, interpreters, and tutors,” she highlighted.

Explaining her reason for pursuing this field of study, Mabaso says: “I love working with small children and I enjoy seeing people develop. I want to help deaf children improve their knowledge and develop good communication skills. I also believe that it helps a deaf learner to be taught by a more relatable teacher.”

What lies ahead?

Receiving the Dean's Medal was a proud moment for Mabaso. “This is a huge accomplishment for me and my family, because I’m the first graduate among them,” she said.

Mabaso plans to do her honours in 2024 and sees herself as a lecturer one day. Ready for her mission to help overcome barriers for hearing-impaired students, Mabaso will start as an educator at a school for the deaf in the Eastern Cape in April 2023. 

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