News & Media

A legal eagle takes wing

Tokologo Monene, chairperson of the Unisa Tshwane Regional SRC

The chairperson of the Unisa Tshwane Regional SRC, Tokologo Monene, is setting a good example for her fellow students. She recently passed her final exams with a distinction after being granted an FI concession, her degree was audited successfully and she is now an LLB graduate. The FI (final year) concession is a mechanism instituted by the university to assist qualifying students to complete their qualification.

At one point, Monene wasn’t sure if this day would ever come. After applying to Unisa she learnt that she did not meet the requirements to enrol for an LLB, which was her degree of choice. "It was a traumatic experience for me because I wanted to study towards an LLB and subsequently join the great legal minds that the country has produced. Coincidentally, Unisa, as part of its packages within the Faculty of Law, had a Diploma in Law, which I then enrolled for and later managed to register for my LLB. Quite frankly, it was a great mission for me to eventually do my LLB, but worth all the sleepless nights," explained Monene.

After completing her Diploma in Law, she was able to start her LLB, which would take her another three years (2015-2017). This stage also saw her become involved in student activism on campus. "In 2015 I continued with my LLB; subsequent to that I made a decision to join and participate in student politics and various other activities on campus, which immensely contributed towards my current seat in the SRC," she said.

While Unisa may have evolved over the past 145 years from an examining body to a fully-fledged teaching university, graduations have always been a highlight on the academic calendar. From the first ceremony awarding seven degrees in 1874, to the many graduations held across the country each autumn and spring now, these events have been a time for students to mark the completion of their studies and to celebrate their success with family, friends and the Unisa community.

For the 2018 autumn graduations, the total number of qualifications awarded is 33 976, which makes the university an epicentre of African knowledge production. Included in this figure are 139 doctoral, 603 master’s, and 3 647 honours degrees. Bachelor’s degrees numbered 12 018, while there were 6 621 postgraduate diplomas and certificates.

(These statistics are still provisional.)

Monene completed both her qualifications in record time, despite the institutional activities in which she participated. "I must mention that I came to Unisa fresh from school, and self-study was not really a method I was used to. But I learnt that I can be disciplined and focused enough to study alone, submit assignments and pass."

Today, Monene takes great pride in her academic strides of the last semester of her LLB degree. She was enrolled for her final eight modules and had two months to study before her examination. The dates were paired closely together and she also had SRC duties to execute. "I had sleepless nights, a bad diet, no social life, but I ate, breathed and slept books. In the midst of it all, I achieved what I set out to do," she said with a smile.

Monene’s advice to Unisa students is simple: “Keep your head up, direct your eyes to where your goals reside, and focus on those goals. There will always be challenges along the way, you will tremble on some, trip and fall on others, and jump over many, but never lose sight of your goals. Always remain focused on the set objectives, and not the challenges that come with it because the challenges are temporary.”

*By Kirosha Naicker and Sharon Farrell

For more information on the FI concession, send an e-mail to ficoncessions@unisa.ac.za