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Nurdeen Joshua from Lavender Hill graduates as a teacher against all odds

Joshua, who was at 18 at the time, was also preparing for the Cape Argus Food Lover’s Market High School Quiz and was featured in the paper, when a devastating fire almost killed his grandmother. Picture: Supplied

Joshua, who was at 18 at the time, was also preparing for the Cape Argus Food Lover’s Market High School Quiz and was featured in the paper, when a devastating fire almost killed his grandmother. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 21, 2021

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Cape Town - Nurdeen Joshua from Lavender Hill, whose home burnt down in 2016 while he was preparing for his matric exams, has graduated four years later at UWC as an educator.

During the devastating fire that almost killed his grandmother, 23-year-old Joshua lost everything, including his study material, sports accolades and coursework.

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Joshua, who was at 18 at the time, was also preparing for the Cape Argus Food Lover’s Market High School Quiz and was featured in the paper.

Looking back at that fateful day Joshua said he was filled with confusion and constantly questioned the timing of the fire. However, he said the incident motivated him as he knew that should he let the circumstance dictate how he performed at school it would never end well for him.

By studying teaching Joshua said he was inspired by the need for a platform to transfer knowledge and from Grade 10 he had already set his mind on becoming a teacher.

However, he was rejected by various universities and thereafter decided to work at his high school, where he assisted learners.

In 2018, after reapplying, he was accepted to study for a BA degree which he completed last year and later enrolled for a postgraduate certificate in education which qualified him as an English and geography teacher.

“I knew that education was one of the areas where I could make a great impact and also inspire others to pursue their dreams. Education can be used as one of the tools to combat poverty, and knowledge is the key to progression. I was inspired to become that person who enables and provides all of these keys to someone else,” he said.

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Joshua will commence working next year at the Zwaanswyk High School.

Nurdeen Joshua graduating at the UWC last Wednesday.

His mother, Gadija Wepener, said she was extremely proud of his achievements as she did not receive the opportunity to take her education further. Wepener said she was happy that she could assist her son in achieving his goals and dreams.

Faizel Petersen, a reader who reached out to Joshua after the fire, said he was touched by Joshua’s expression on his face after reading the article and reached out to him and had since been in contact.

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“The situation has happened with many people across our city, yet the result, the persistence to succeed despite the challenges life threw at him, is what I am looking at.

“His victory is a victory for us all. His story is a story of hope that would be a motivation for other youngsters who are possibly faced with tragedy, hardship and difficulty to not give up,” he said.

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