From a struggling farm worker to graduate, meet Philiswa Dingiswayo

From a struggling farm worker to graduate, meet Philiswa Dingiswayo

- Philiswa Dingiswayo fell pregnant at the age of 16

- She was employed as a farm worker for 2 years earning R55 per day

- After battling depression, she has graduated from CPUT with flying colours

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Philiswa Dingiswayo’s journey from an apple and pear farm in Grabouw to graduating at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) is an epic one.

The 26-year-old overcame numerous challenges over the past 10 years to achieve success.

She’s endured a teen pregnancy, poverty, single motherhood, depression and expulsion on the path to glory.

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Dingiswayo was a top student while at high school and had ambitions of tertiary studies.

However, her plans took an unexpected twist when she fell pregnant at the age of 16.

She matriculated the following year but soon left her grandparents and the farm they worked on in Grabouw.

Dingiswayo returned to her grandparents and swallowed her pride as she worked as a farm worker for 2 years.

IOL reported that she earned a meagre R55 per day as a packer.

Her colleagues often ridiculed her for working there even though she matriculated.

Dingiswayo soon applied to study at CPUT and was granted financial aid by the Lombard Foundation. understands Dingiswayo did well during her first year but depression soon had a hold over her.

She revealed, “I started drinking and even smoking weed to combat these bad feelings I was having. People called me psycho, and I was angry all the time. Eventually, I was academically excluded.”

Dingiswayo went one step further and drank bleach in a failed suicide attempt.

Fortunately, the Student Counselling Unit came to her rescue as she rebuilt herself.

She then begged the HOD to excuse her as she requested a second chance and a change of course to the field of marketing.

Incredibly, she was granted that second chance and has now graduated 1 year ahead of schedule.

Dingiswayo aims to share her story in the hope of showing people the warning signs of depression but that it can also be conquered.

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