Beating the odds to graduate

ACHIEVEMENT: Sive Mfanase has defied poverty to obtain a BTech degree in Business Administration during Autumn Graduation.

Sive Mfanase was born in a rural village outside Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and into a life of subsistence farming, which saw him growing up as herd boy.

From the tender age of eight Sive would walk barefoot to school – a 12 kilometre round trip on dirt roads.

“During rainy seasons when the creeks rose, I would stop on the nearby bank, strip, swaddle up my books in my clothes. I would wrap this load around my head and paddled across the water floating on any handy log,” narrates Sive.

“If I arrived at school late, the teacher at my one-room school routinely whipped me.”

He recalls how tricky schooling used to be on Fridays as this was the dipping day for the village’s cattle. He would guide the cattle to the dipping tanks where he would wait in a line for a turn to send his family’s herd.

During his high school days he and a friend took weekend bus trips to nearby villages to earn money by doing odd jobs for rich families, an activity he continued until after obtaining his matric.  He took a gap year in 2013 and worked part of the year.

“It was the first time in my life that I had cash of my own, during that year I saved R7 000.”

In 2014 he enrolled at CPUT for a diploma in Tourism using his savings to pay for half of the first semester’s tuition fees.

He began classes with no money and little prospect of earning the other half by midterm.

“Another student told me that even though I did not have money, the university would not exclude me if I earned good grades. I did and soon I was awarded a bursary to continue my studies.”

After obtaining his diploma in 2016 he later changed fields of study to satisfy his business interests.

During Autumn Graduation, Sive graduated with a BTech in Business Administration.

He is currently enrolled towards an MTech in Business Administration and aspires to start his own business.

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