Determination propelled woman to join high school at 43, earns electrical engineering diploma at 64

Randeka Nghonyama.
Randeka Nghonyama.

Randeka Nghonyama a 64-year-old woman has proved that age is just a number in matters of education and at any age, it is possible to fulfil one’s dream.

Randeka obtained her National Diploma in Electrical Engineering during the Tshwane University of Technology’s Spring Graduations.

She was married at the age of 17 and pursued a career in the retail industry.

The mother of four eventually returned to high school at the age of 40, after dropping out in her youth and graduated with an electrical engineering degree at the age of 64.

In a Facebook post, the university shared Nghonyama’s inspiring story and it proved that no one’s dreams are invalid regardless of race, age or gender.

At the age of 43, the woman graduated from high school and decided to take her education to a higher level.

Nghonyama initially wanted to become a nurse but did not qualify even after enrolling in several nursing colleges. She then decided to apply to TUT’s Electrical Engineering Programme in 2003 and was accepted.

It took her 16 years to complete her studies but she did not give up for once on her dreams. Her journey to graduation was far from easy and Nghonyama had to overcome several struggles including financial difficulties, attending classes with younger people, running her family while a full-time student and failing modules as a result of her age.

In 2010, she decided to take a much-needed break from her studies. A technician at the university’s engineering and built environment faculty Dumezweni Reuben inadvertently encouraged her to re-register to complete her qualification when he informed her that national diplomas would be phased out.

Only having one subject left to do, Nghonyama decided to register for her final subject 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 in 2017.

“I wanted to prove to myself that despite coming from a tough 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,” said Nghonyama.


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