News & Media

Unisa changed our lives for the better

Unisa’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mandla Makhanya, accepted a meeting request from Tshireletso Mafomane, the daughter of Unisa’s Security Officer, Isaac Mafomane. He was one of the security officers who was insourced by the university early in 2017. The nine-year-old, Grade 3 learner has been longing to meet the Vice-Chancellor (VC) to thank him for giving her father a permanent job. "I would like to thank Prof Makhanya for giving my father a permanent job. Previously, my father was unable to buy us clothes and school essentials, but since he got the job, our family’s life has changed for the better."

Prof Mandla Makhanya, Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, and Tshireletso Mafomane, daughter of Isaac Mafomane

Tshireletso's father explained to her that she needed to obtain good marks at school for Unisa to pay for her tertiary fees. She expressed that when she grows up she would like to become a veterinarian because she understands that animals, as living creatures, also need medical assistance whenever they get sick. With the number of awards that Tshireletso has received, she has proved that she is one of the best performing learners at school. She encourages other learners to respect and listen to their teachers when they teach and to study hard; in that way they will also be able to win awards. Her mother, Maria Mafomane, briefly joined the conversation and expressed her sincere gratitude to the VC for helping her family improve their standard of living.

Prof Mandla Makhanya excited to receive a token of appreciation from Tshireletso Mafomane

The family was very excited to finally meet Makhanya in the flesh and felt it was a dream come true. Makhanya was very delighted to host his guests and even more excited when Tshireletso showed him her awards and gave him one of her trophies as a token of appreciation. The VC also took the opportunity to present Tshireletso with her gifts from the university, mainly being school essentials. He encouraged her to keep studying hard in order to be successful and added that veterinarians are in great demand, Mathematics would be one of the key subjects to gain entry to the course. He urged her parents to keep being supportive towards the girl as it would encourage her to keep on improving herself.

Mafomane also took the opportunity to thank the VC for the job and explained how it has changed his family’s life. "Being a staff member at Unisa comes with great benefits. I am now able to put food on the table and with the housing benefit I get monthly, I was able to build my family a proper home after living in a two-room shack for over 10 years. I can also guarantee that for as long as I work at Unisa, my children will have access to higher education; they just have to study hard and finish their matric. My wife is now able to get better health care assistance since she has a chronic illness. Our lives have definitely changed for the better."

Unisa strives to assist in overcoming the scourge of unemployment in South Africa and understands that every person deserves to have a source of income to afford basic human needs.

* By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist: Publications, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2019/11/12