Pfariso Julio Nephalama, captured with his proud mother, Vho Sylvia Nephalama, shortly after his graduation ceremony at the University of Venda last week. Photo: Mazilitha.

Even if it takes you a decade, never stop chasing your dream

News - Date: 25 May 2024


If you think giving up is an option, think twice and remind yourself of the inspiring story of Pfariso Julio Nephalama (31) of Vondwe village, north of Thohoyandou. Despite difficulties and repeated failures, Nephalama is a true example of what real perseverance is all about as he took 10 consecutive years to complete his four-year degree.

Nephalama finally ascended the University of Venda Auditorium stage when he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics last week. He started his studies at the University of Venda in 2013 and ultimately completed his degree in 2023.

Nephalama, who is currently the chairperson of the Vondwe Civic Association, is the first person to acquire a university degree in his family of seven children. During an interview with the Limpopo Mirror last Thursday, Nephalama said that even though his educational journey had been thorny, he was happy that he had managed to realise his dream at long last. “I passed my Grade 12 at Tshidimbini High School in 2012, and I never thought my tertiary studies would turn into an educational marathon. During my 10 years at the University of Venda, I failed many modules, but I repeated them without worrying because I knew what I wanted in life. When I felt like giving up, I had to think about the time I wasted, and that gave me more courage to soldier on.”

He said that at the early stage of his studies, he was lucky to get a bursary, but unfortunately, they had withdrawn their funding because of his non-achievement. “My mother, Vho Sylvia Nephalama, who is now unemployed, used to be an EPWP worker and also worked as a cook for the learners at the local Vondwe Primary School and Gumani Technical School. Though she earned very little, she used every cent she earned to finance my studies as I didn’t have a bursary. I also send my sincere gratitude to Prof Khangwelo Desmond Musetsho, our village traditional leader, Vhamusanda Vho Gumani Rammbuda, and many of my comrades and friends who supported me through my struggle for all 10 years. I’m now faced with the struggle of job hunting, but I strongly believe that lady luck will soon land on my side.”

Vondwe village’s traditional leader, Vhamusanda Vho Gumani Rammbuda, said she was very proud of what Nephalama had achieved and wished him the best in his future. “Over the years, I used to summon him to my palace to reprimand him about what was happening with his studies. I told him that he is leading the community very well, but he must first fix his life, so that he could lead by example. I am happy that he took my words seriously – hence today we are celebrating his success.”


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