Shack graduation picture tells story

[caption id="attachment_204369" align="aligncenter" width="630"] BETTER LIFE: Anele George in his graduation gown, with his mother,
Nobendiba, in front of their shack. The picture went viral on Facebook[/caption]

Overcoming the adversities of growing up in a one-room shack in Dimbaza’s Phola Park is what pushed Anele George to strive for a better future.

The 25-year-old recently earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Pretoria. George graduated last week and like many other graduates he took a picture of himself in his graduation attire and posted it on Facebook.

However, George’s picture was different – there was no red carpet, glitz and glamour – it was a picture of him and his mother, Nobendiba George, standing in front of their home – a small iron shack.

The picture was taken a few days before he was capped, George said.

“I could not afford to take my mother to the actual graduation, so while I was at home I decided to put on my hired gown and take a picture with her. And for me that felt like my actual graduation,” he said.

The picture has since gone viral. George said growing up, education became his only hope out of poverty.

“There were days that we slept on empty stomachs. I was hungry but I was more hungry for a better life,” he said.

After passing matric in 2011, he said he sought help from his father in Johannesburg to pursue his academic dream. But his father was not interested in helping him.

He then worked as a cashier for a fast food outlet. In 2013, he applied to study education at the University of Pretoria and secured a bursary.

Today, George teaches mathematics and economics and creative arts to grade 8 and 9 pupils. “The first thing that I want to do is to buy my mother a house,” George said.