DETERMINED to turn his turbulent past around with his diploma, a former Nelson Mandela Bay street kid has his sights set on living his dream life.
Though Mbulelo Dweni has not yet found a job in his field of study since graduating from Varsity College in April, he has not let that become a major obstacle in his path to success.
The business management and entrepreneurship graduate, who has been living at the Khayalethu Youth Centre in North End since 2001, said having a qualification had empowered him in a way he never thought possible.
“My education is mine and nobody can take that away from me even if they tried. I find that extremely empowering,” he said.
Dweni left home at 14 in a bid to escape his troubled home life with his alcoholic mother, who was a domestic worker, and stepfather, who worked as a gardener.
The former street kid, who was awarded an R80000 bursary by Varsity College two years ago, maintains a fighting spirit despite the “challenges life throws at me”.
Before getting the Varsity College bursary, he had saved up to study a similar programme at Damelin College, but could not finish the course due to funding problems.
“This bursary has meant so much to me and I am grateful that, as an average student, they had faith in me,” he said.
After numerous unsuccessful applications for work in his field of study, Dweni has gone back to the medical administrating company he worked for before becoming a full-time student.
“I’m confident that although I’m not in the field I studied for, one day all this will pay off,” he said. “Right now I’m just happy to have a job that enables me to try and help out with my younger brother.
“I’m proud to have come this far, but there is still a long way to go before I realise my personal goals.”