Pfarelo Naledzani, a security guard from Tshithuthuni in Thengwe village, has graduated with an honours degree in town planning from the University of Venda. Photo: Mazilitha.

Naledzani's difficult journey from security guard to honours degree

News - Date: 25 May 2024


Pfarelo Naledzani, a 36-year-old security guard from Tshithuthuni in Thengwe village, has just graduated with an honours degree in town planning from the University of Venda (Univen), proving that success follows dedication and hard work.

On Wednesday, 15 May, the convocation at Univen witnessed Naledzani walking across the stage, not merely as a security guard but as an honours graduate.

Born into a disadvantaged family, his career journey was riddled with challenges and hardships. Yet, fuelled by an unyielding thirst for knowledge and a steadfast belief in his own potential, the father of four refused to succumb to the limitations imposed by circumstance.

“Finally graduating was a profoundly significant moment for me, my family, and everyone who supported me, including my wife. But to be honest, the journey was far from easy. There were days when I went to class without a meal, returning home empty-handed. Despite the hardships, I remained determined to pursue my dreams,” he said.

After matriculating at Azwifarwi Secondary School in 2006, he upgraded his maths and physical science subjects and managed to secure a place at the university after several attempts. He started his course in 2010 but had to drop out in 2016 for various reasons, including NSFAS’s cutting off his funding. Left with just one module that year after failing to submit his research, he felt defeated. However, he embarked on a journey to secure employment, hoping to return to Univen eventually.

“My mother financed my registration, which I used to get a certificate for security to fund my studies in 2017. The security job eventually afforded me the opportunity to return to university and complete my course. Despite challenges, I persevered, paying tuition and supporting my family. I remain focused on my goals,” he said.

Balancing his security-guard duties was challenging, yet Naledzani encourages those hesitant about higher education to pursue their dreams despite other obligations. “My experience in security enhances my role in town planning, enabling me to contribute to safer, more liveable communities,” he said.


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Thembi Siaga

Thembi Siaga started as an intern during 2021. He assisted with video photography and editing. He also produced numerous small documentaries, focusing on the Vhembe region and its people. Currently he works as a freelance journalist, covering stories in the Elim area.

Thembi studied at the Tshwane University of Technology, where he completed his diploma in Journalism in 2021.