Cape Town - She satisfied her urge to learn by reading snippets of magazines lying around in the house of the “ma’am” whose floors she used to scrub.
Next month she will travel to the US as a proud recipient of a Fulbright post-doctoral scholarship.
“I always knew that I was destined to be more,” Venicia McGhie said on Tuesday.
McGhie, 53, who hails from Potchefstroom is a senior lecturer at the University of the Western Cape.
One of four siblings, McGhie lost her parents when she was still a teenager. She dropped out of school in Grade 10 and was forced to work as a domestic.
“Cleaning people’s houses was the only way I could contribute to the household. I was blessed to find a wonderful family to work for.”
The woman she worked for was surprised McGhie could read and made her an administrative clerk of her small home business.
From there, McGhie became the first coloured woman to do administration work at Northwest University. Still craving for knowledge, McGhie enrolled at a college and completed her matric.
In 1985, McGhie divorced her husband, got on to a train with her two children, Lindie and Ray, and headed for Stellenbosch.
McGhie joined UWC as a data capturer in 1988. Studying through the university, she majored in linguistics.
Now McGhie is a senior lecturer in the university’s Economic and Management Sciences Faculty. In October, she flies to the US where she will work with first-year students at the University of Missouri.
She wrote a book about her life titled And there is a living God.