From Car Guard to MBA Graduate: The Inspirational Story of Patrice Niyonteze

From Car Guard to MBA Graduate: The Inspirational Story of Patrice Niyonteze

  • A Rwandan car guard has made his country beyond proud as he worked hard to bag his MBA recently
  • Working as a car guard meant early morning starts for Patrice who struggled to study and work simultaneously
  • With MBA in hand, Patrice is planning to open his own restaurant, he’s just waiting for his big break

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By Neesha Maharaj - Freelance Journalist

Rwandan national Patrice Niyonteze fled a civil war in his home country for South African shores to save his life and build a better life for himself. He worked as a car guard for over 17 years to achieve his goal of acquiring his Master's degree in Business Administration.

Now 17 years on, he has bagged his MBA and is planning to open his dream restaurant. The 180-degree turnaround in his life, however, did not come without challenges though.

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Working as a car guard meant 5am starts daily to make a decent living and pay for his MBA obtained through MANCOSA. He would work during the day and at night hit the books.

Car guard, MBA graduate, Patrice Niyonteze, pay, own studies
Patrice Niyonteze has made waves after he paid for his studies with the money he made from being a car guard. Image: Provided and Stock Photo
Source: UGC

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Langa, Cape Town has been Patrice’s home for the last 17 years. He began pursuing his MBA in 2016 and money had been tough. He sometimes wonders how he was able to pay his rent, buy food and pay for his studies.

“It had been hard work and at times I thought I would need to give up my studies because of limited funds. However, he thought of how he had been a teacher and human resources manager back in Rwanda and knew he could make something of himself in South Africa,” said Patrice.

He recalled how difficult it was for him to introduce himself to fellow students when he first enrolled for tertiary studies.

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“They were all in good, professional jobs while I was a car guard. However, I reminded myself there is dignity in labour and before long, I had many friends,” he said.

Patrice said the first semester was tough for him because he could not afford to buy textbooks. “In the second semester some colleagues helped me by sharing their electronic books and even paying for me when we had to have extra lessons,” said Patrice.

According to Patrice, it was challenging to work as a car guard and study simultaneously:

“Being a parking attendant can be demoralising. One moment you can be elated when a motorist gives you R20. The next moment you can be frustrated when you are given just 20c whilst expecting more, judging by the expensive car,” he said.

The 54-year-old said he was thankful to his classmates and colleagues who were helpful through this MBA journey. This experience had taught him that it is possible to achieve your goals, irrespective of it being a mammoth task.

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He urges African people to realise that it’s possible to achieve life goals and never give up on their dreams, no matter how difficult it may seem. Now that he was capped with his MBA, Patrice is working on plans to open a restaurant. He is working hard to make his dream a reality.

Rural school principal wins global award, vows to continue studying

Previously, Briefly News reported that 61-year-old Dr Ngwak'o Stephen Sebopetsa is the winner of a Global Principals' Award and has a PhD in education management. But despite his pensionable age, leisure and resting on his laurels are not yet on the menu.

This Limpopo rural man in his 36th year of teaching in schools is now focusing on law. The principal of Rathaga Primary school in Bolobedu area outside Tzaneen received the prestigious world award on 21 June, 2021.

The Global Principals Awards recognise exceptional leaders in all corners of the world who demonstrate excellence in leading their school.

Source: Briefly News

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