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UniZulu graduate rises above injury, funding challenges, to bag 17 distinctions and graduate with Bachelor of Education degree

Anita Mkhabela broke her leg in her first year at the University of Zululand and was forced to make adjustments to overcome the challenges her injury imposed.

Anita Mkhabela obtained 17 distinctions in a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Zululand. She graduated in a ceremony at the university’s King Bhekuzulu Hall last week. Picture: Supplied.

Published May 17, 2022


DURBAN - University of Zululand (UniZulu) graduate Anita Mkhabela is one step closer to fulfilling her dream of working in the education sector after she was conferred with a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree last week at a graduation ceremony held at the university’s King Bhekuzulu Hall.

The university said Mkhabela obtained 17 distinctions in her Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase) degree.

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The first in her family to graduate from a university, Mkhabela’s journey to graduation was not an easy one. She said staying up until the early hours studying had become second nature.

She added that her love for the teaching profession motivated her to remain focused on her studies.

“Growing up, teaching was very close to my heart. I have always been fascinated by imparting knowledge to others. I strongly believe that teaching is the mother of all professions so I chose to pursue a BEd,” said Mkhabela.

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In addition to the long hours of hard work, Mkhabela had to overcome financial and medical challenges which threatened to derail her dream.

The university said after Mkhabela completed high school, she was unable to further her studies due to lack of funding.

Delaying her dream for two years, she worked at a restaurant in Esikhawini, Empangeni to put food on the table for her family and eventually managed to enrol at UniZulu through the Funza Lushaka bursary programme.

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After she overcame her financial hurdles, Mkhabela was dealt a hard blow when she fell and seriously injured her leg during her first year.

“This really affected me emotionally. I was hospitalised for two weeks. I remember this one time I had to come in a wheelchair to write my exams,” she said.

She said even moving around at home was challenging and she was forced to use the kitchen as her study area.

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The university said there was a period when Mkhabela was afraid that she would never be able to walk again.

It said that Mkhabela now had a “Trigen nail” in her left leg to assist with her mobility, but it did limit some physical activities.

UniZulu said Mkhabela was overjoyed to graduate and grateful to her parents for their emphasis on the importance of education, even though they had never been to school themselves.

She also thanked her other family members and lecturers for supporting her throughout her journey.

Mkhabela is now enrolled for her Honours degree with UniZulu.


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