Domestic Worker, Single Mom Reflects on Unisa Graduation After Personal Struggles, Plans on Pursuing Honours

Domestic Worker, Single Mom Reflects on Unisa Graduation After Personal Struggles, Plans on Pursuing Honours

  • A single mother-of-four who lives in Gauteng is incredibly emotional after obtaining her degree in an applied psychology-related field from Unisa
  • The domestic worker overcame so many struggles to bag her degree without any funding while working full-time to support her kids
  • The inspiring Mponegele Jane Thole plans on undertaking an honours degree that would enable her to become a practising industrial psychologist

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It takes a lot of hard work to obtain a degree, and completing an academic qualification while being a doting mother and working full-time as a cleaner is an absolutely fantastic achievement.

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Through all her struggles, Mponegele Jane Thole still managed to obtain her degree from Unisa and wants to pursue an honours qualification in applied psychology. Image: Mponegele Jane Thole/Supplied.
Source: UGC

Mponegele Jane Thole is a single parent who is employed as a domestic worker in Centurion, Gauteng. The mom-of-four is incredibly inspiring and recently obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Health Sciences and Social Services degree from the University of South Africa (Unisa).

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With this degree, the perseverant mother can work as an industrial psychologist in professional/corporate settings after obtaining her honours qualification.

In a previous story, Briefly News reported on Mponegele’s friend, Adéle Harmse, posting on LinkedIn about the hard-working woman bagging her degree without bursaries or external funds to assist her financially.

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Adéle would sometimes help Mponegele out with food when things were tough at home. Image: Mponegele Jane Thole/Supplied.
Source: UGC

Now, speaking to Briefly News, the Thembisa resident opens up about the long and difficult journey that led to her obtaining the degree.

Struggling as a mom to four kids

The 45-year-old, who is originally from Limpopo, notes that she faced many struggles being a single mother while working full-time and pursuing her studies:

“I am so happy to have obtained my qualification because I never thought I would get to this point, especially with the job I am doing as a domestic worker and needing to take care of the kids, pay rent, buy food, and pay Unisa with the small salary I earn.

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“But because God is great, I managed to do all these things while still ensuring that there was food on the table for my kids.”

Mponegele explains that she would work for three different families, earning around R3000.

R1000 of her salary went towards her Unisa fees, and the remainder of the money needed to stretch very far for food, transport money, rent, and any other needs the kiddies had:

“Sometimes, we would go the whole month without food. Adéle would help me here and there with food and bread, and I always made sure to work hard during the December holidays to earn cash that I could pay to Unisa. That is basically how we survived.”

Most of the Thembisa mom' kiddies are still at school, with her eldest son her only working child:

“I have two boys and two daughters. My eldest son is 28, his name is Katlego, Koketso is 17, Mapaseka is 10, and Matsobane, my youngest, is 5. They are all very proud of their mommy.”

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single mom, graduate, youngest son, Gaugeng, Unisa, psychology, motherhood, kids, health sciences
Mponegele’s youngest son, Matsobane Thole is only 5 years old and in Grade R. Image: Mponegele Jane Thole/Supplied.
Source: UGC

After returning from work, the inspiring mom would prepare food for her kiddies, help them each with homework, ensure that they were each bathed, and then hit the books until the early hours of the morning.

Mponegele notes that while her academic journey has been incredibly tough, it was worth the sacrifices and hard work.

A love for people and education

The Unisa graduate notes that she has a love for people and originally wanted to study medicine at the Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA) when she was younger.

But due to no funding being available, the determined woman ended up pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce in Social Sciences at Rhodes University instead, which she was not very passionate about and did not end up completing:

“I always knew I would end up studying, because my mom, who had six kids, raised us alone after my dad passed away and always wanted us to pursue an education and create better lives for ourselves.”

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Mponegele now hopes to get accepted at Unisa to pursue her honours degree next year, to obtain employment as an industrial psychologist:

“I would love to work as an industrial psychologist, and my ultimate dream is to create a better life for my kids and build them a home of their own.”

The resilient mother advises all moms to never give up on their pursuit of better employment and education:

“We need to be educated as it is important to us as women to have qualifications to secure better jobs with better salaries. The one thing I like about education is that nobody can take it away from you.
“We need to use education as a weapon to open doors to new career opportunities. It also gives us a sense of belonging and self-confidence, as people in our communities will start taking us seriously.”

Heartwarming photos show KZN gogos graduating from sewing school with hopes of generating their own income

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Meanwhile, in a related story by Briefly News, a group of KwaXimba gogos have not allowed old age to deter them from going for their dreams in life.

They graduated from sewing school, which was made possible by the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. The organisation hopes that local schools will connect with these enterprising gogos to sew their school uniforms.

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Source: Briefly News

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