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40-year-old woman bags university degree after 14 years of working as cleaner in the school, celebrates achievement

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An exceptional 40-year-old woman named Sthembile Mngwengwe earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal after working in the institution as a cleaner for 14 years.

Sthembile Mngwengwe who hailed from South Africa earned her degree in Social Sciences. She narrated that her journey has not been easy as she had to combine work and studies throughout her academic program. “Balancing work and studies gave me a lot of stress,” she said.

“But if you work hard and pray to God, He will help you to achieve what you want,” she added.

Sthembile Mngwengwe also explained that she was motivated by being on campus and seeing the gleaming offices professors occupied as she cleaned. “I was motivated by being on campus too, seeing students walking up and down going to their lecture theatres to attend classes made me wish to be them,” she said.

Sthembile Mngwengwe who is a single mom of a 20-year-old Lady added that she wanted to set an example for her daughter that she can also attain a degree regardless of their circumstances. The university offered her a scholarship and she quickly grabbed the opportunity.

Speaking further on her determination to earn a Bachelor’s degree, Sthembile Mngwengwe stated that she had always wanted to become a graduate but at the time of enrolling at the university, her parent could afford to sponsor her education.

“I decided to study so that I can qualify for a better job because studying is very important nowadays,” she added.

Sthembile hailed her friends in school for supporting her throughout her journey. “They didn’t care that they were younger than me. It didn’t stop them from helping me and encouraging me. In fact, they treated me as their friend,” she says.

Her friends, family, and colleagues have been hosting parties to celebrate her achievement as she announced that she will now be able to seek out a better engagement with her degree.

“No matter how old you are you can still fulfill your dreams. Age is just a number – look at me completing my first degree at the age of 40. It’s a blessing and I’m so proud of myself.” she said.