A Western Cape man who works as a cleaner at a petrol station hopes his life will change after his graduation from UCT on Friday with a degree he completed 17 years ago.
Joseph Khohlokoane, a 44 year old man from Worcester, dreamt of becoming a social worker when he enrolled at University of Cape Town in 1992 but couldn’t get his degree as he owed around R30 000 of study debt by the time he had finished.
He started working as a petrol attendant at a Shell Ultra City Breede Valley in Worcester, to try and pay off his debt so he could finally get his degree but couldn’t save up enough to pay back what was owed.
He spent the next 10 years working as a petrol attendant, and then another seven as a cleaner. He decided not to tell anyone at work that he had studied at UCT.
His employer Willem Venter, said a farmer in the area Clarence Johnson heard about Khohlokoane’s situation and arranged for his debt to be paid.
“He is such a modest person. How many people would be so modest about the kind of things that he has achieved. I feel sad that I didn’t know. I told him that 17 years might have passed but now he has to look forward.”
UCT confirmed that Khohlokoane had studied towards his Bachelor of Social Science degree at UCT in 1996 and would be graduating on Friday.
On Friday, Venter will drive Khohlokoane, his wife, and their daughter to his graduation ceremony in Cape Town.
Khohlokoane would now find a job that was relevant to his qualification. Khohlokoane said that during his studies he had been told not to pursue a career in social work because he stuttered, but he was hoping to get a job in community development and further his studies.