30 May 2022

Before studying at the University of Mpumalanga, Ubisi excelled in her role as teacher: “I managed to obtain the highest pass rate in 2016, resulting in being the best educator in the circuit. Because of my outstanding accomplishments, I was outsourced by various schools to assist with mathematics during weekends and recess periods. I was later given a part-time position as Head of Department, where I was responsible for moderating learners’ assessments and teachers’ files,” she said, adding that studying at UMP was a dream come true.

“I’ve received R5 000 four years in a row,” she said, adding that she sent it all to her mother who is looking after her five siblings and is dependent on social grants and money she makes from selling the vegetables they grow in their yard. 

Ubisi is currently a tutor of third-year plant production practice students at the university and says she is looking forward to a long career in academia.

UMPProud moment for former teacher and mother of two Rivoningo Ubisi.

For the 22-year-old Mkhwanazi, her graduation ceremony is the moment she had been looking forward to since she registered at the university. She found a friend, confidant and motivator in Ubisi. The two encouraged each other to excel and achieve the best marks each year.

Mkhwanazi was raised by a gardener father and an unemployed mother. She is the first to graduate in her family. Ubisi, a 31-year-old mother of two from the small village of Hlamalani in Bushbuckridge, left her job as a grade 12 Mathematics and Life Science teacher to pursue her studies at UMP.

She was recently awarded a HL Hall and Sons Gold Medal Award and a whopping R10 000 at the UMP Excellence Awards and the Vice Chancellor Scholarship Award ceremony that was recently held at Mbombela Campus.

“Through dedication and working hard, I achieved my goals and during my first year I got the Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship and almost all my educational needs were taken care of. Receiving the scholarship was the best thing because it did not only reduce the financial burden, it also offered workshops that involved improving personal development of students to reach their potential academically and outside school” she says.

Ubisi and Mkhwanazi are among 1 112 graduates who received their qualifications at this year’s graduations, the seventh for the varsity. They make up 67% of the female graduates.

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Additional Copy: Sunday World. Pictures Supplied.