It took TT Matanzima 32 years to graduate, but he did it

It took TT Matanzima 32 years to graduate, but he did it

- TT Matanzima graduated with his Bachelor of Social Science on Friday after a 32 year struggle

- He left his studies to peruse his life dream of being in the military, but he came back and completed

- He made a vow to himself that he would complete his degree no matter how successful he became in the military and that is exactly what he did

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Graduating on Friday with a Bachelor of Social Science (BSocSci) from WSU’s Nelson Mandela Drive (formerly Unitra) campus, we take out hat off to this 65 year old grandfather of two. He is the brother of Transhei homeland president KD Matanzima.

Matanzima registered at Unitra in 1986 for his undergraduate degree. He majored in psychology and political science.

Abandoning his degree to carry out his life’s dream of been having a military career, he was awarded a number of accolades. Unitra was the centre of 1980s anti-apartheid student resistance, and in the 1990s, after apartheid and its homelands policy fell, Unitra was incorporated into WSU in 2005. After retiring as SANDF chief of joint operations, Matanzima is now the ombudsman for the military. learnt that this grandfather was the oldest in his class by far. Matanzima study with about 100 student who graduated in his class.

The buoyant Matanzima joked: “Most [of my classmates] were not yet born when I first started my degree”.

“I have achieved many things in my life, but there is nothing more jovial than graduating with this degree here where I started. This institution has a place in the hearts of all of us who grew up in Transkei. Graduating from it is a bonus.”

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It was Matanzima’s brother that established Unitra during the homeland era.

“Because he loved education he ensured that youth from rural poor Transkei received affordable education on their doorstep. The institution, which is no more Unitra and is now WSU, has a good track record in producing the cream of the crop. Its graduates are big names in the judiciary, medicine, economics and accounting as well as other sectors,” he said.

Matanzima matriculated in 1976, after attending Jongilizwe High in Tsolo, a school for chief’s sons. In 1977, he joined the Transkei Defence Force (TDF). He received additional training in the UK and Ghana and went on to receive a certificate in public administration. Graduating from the Christian University of Potchefstroom, now Northwest University, in 2005 with a Masters in administration.

“For the past 30 years I have been busy with my military career."

“But despite achieving elsewhere, I vowed I would complete this degree no matter how many years it took – and that it would be with this university."

“I am happy my prayers have been completed,” said Matanzima."

Matanzima and General Bantu Holomisa collapsed his cousin, Prime Minister George Matanzima when he was a major in the TDF. They, together, later overthrew Stella Sigcau.

What a great achievement and example to all. Anything is possible.

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