Hard times no barrier for student

David Alexander, senior manager: academic administration George Campus, robes Bubele Dike after he received his diploma in human resources management during a graduation ceremony at the NMMU south campus yesterday. Picture: Briaan Witbooi.
David Alexander, senior manager: academic administration George Campus, robes Bubele Dike after he received his diploma in human resources management during a graduation ceremony at the NMMU south campus yesterday. Picture: Briaan Witbooi.

A young man from King William’s Town has accomplished what many only dream of – despite being abandoned by his mother at the age of eight.

Bubele Lungelo Dike, 26, who was left with relatives of his mother before being dumped with his grandmother in rural Middledrift, crossed the stage at NMMU’s third day of graduation ceremonies yesterday to collect his human resources diploma.

Looking back at his childhood, Dike said: “Life was not bad then.”

But in his final year at school his life changed when his grandmother suffered a stroke.

“There are some challenges, emotionally, and I guess the fact that my mother left me plays a vital role in that,” he said. “Every child deserves motherly love.” After his grandmother died in 2009, he went to live with two aunts in Port Elizabeth and had to find a job to survive.

“I must say it felt like my dreams and my world were shutting down [but] I am thankful to [my aunts] for trying by all means to provide all the basic needs one needs to survive,” he said.

He found a job as a cleaner, working one or two days a week before being identified as one of the best employees and being promoted to working the entire week.

“After a year I was made permanent and just a week later we were told about retrenchments and I was transferred to the Oasim [building], where I was cleaning windows on the 7th floor,” he said.

Seeing his potential after a number of “curious conversations”, BLC Attorneys marketing manager Olwethu Nodada decided to help Dike in his dream to study further. “I met Bubele in 2012,” she said. “He worked as a cleaner for a company that served my employer.

“He would be in my office every two weeks to clean my windows and I always looked forward to his curious conversations.”

Nodada helped Dike get his papers in order and he applied to study at NMMU.

“We struggled somewhat with acceptance, given his marks for English and maths, but eventually succeeded and he was accepted,” she said.

As he was struggling financially, earning R2 000 a month or less, Nodada helped Dike for his first year of studies before they were able to secure funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

Dike has a two-month contract doing quality inspection at a national industrial and building supplier.

“I would love to find a good job in human resources while studying for a B Com law part time,” he said.

Nodada said: “His commitment and strength of character are admirable. I am so proud of him.”

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