Durban – Disabled Thandiwe Sosiba received a standing ovation when she graced the stage to obtain her Diploma in Public Administration, specialising in Supply Chain Management, at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), during its 2023 Autumn graduation.
Sosiba, 23, graduated in the Indumiso Campus Hall in Pietermaritzburg and reaped the fruits of her labours on Tuesday.
She hails from KwaNyamazane in Pietermaritzburg and was born with a walking disability.
However, her desire to succeed in life motivated her to pursue her studies at DUT, after she completed her matric at the Open Air School for pupils living with disabilities.
“I was overwhelmed. I was not expecting to receive a standing ovation. It was amazing walking on that stage. I really enjoyed every part of it. I was nervous, going from where I was sitting to the ramp on the other side was a bit too much for me, but at least I managed,” Sosiba said.
When she joined DUT in 2019, she did her Higher Certificate in Public Administration and a year later enrolled for her Diploma in Public Administration, majoring in Supply Chain Management.
“When I joined DUT, I had a great experience. My residence was across the road, so it was easier for me to attend classes.
“My roommates were very helpful and understanding. The challenge began when I started my diploma studies. I was staying at Indumiso, so I had to use the bus to Riverside Campus.
“My challenge was that I cannot use the stairs. So sometimes I would miss classes. Things became better when we were provided with our own bus, catering for our special needs,” said Sosiba.
She recalled an incident where the elevators were not working for a whole month while studying towards her higher certificate, and she had to use the stairs.
Sosiba said she approached the head of department and requested for her classes to be moved to the ground floor.
In no time, her request was granted and the entire class agreed to move, to accommodate her.
The Covid-19 lockdown came as a blessing for her as it meant less travelling. She was grateful to her classmates for accommodating and assisting her in all possible ways.
Sometimes students would even assist her by carrying her bag throughout the day.
According to Sosiba, they were taught in high school about the importance of being independent.
“Studying for me was a way of avoiding having a double disability. Life is tough. To be able to get a job and be able to support myself and my family, I will need to get an office job. I cannot work in retail due to my disability. I need to be able to support myself financially,” said Sosiba.
Advising parents who have children living with disabilities, Sosiba said they should not hide them in the house, as they ha so much to offer the world.
To the students living with disabilities, Sosiba said anything is possible with the right mindset.
Her mother, Thulisile Sosiba, 56, is very proud of her daughter for succeeding against all odds.
She hopes her daughter will be able to get a job, after this qualification, and gain financial independence.
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