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Beating the odds to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce

Ntshavheni Khangale, a student with a disability, recently received his Bachelor of Commerce at the Unisa Autumn Graduations 2024 held in Polokwane after defying all odds, including writing his examinations inside an ambulance.


Ntshaveni Khangale’s partner, Phophi Davhana (on the left), says she learned the power of hope and action from her partner.

On what it takes to be a Unisa student, the resilient student from Nzhelele, in Limpopo, says every Unisa student has a story to tell. Some, like him, do not allow challenges to stop them from completing their qualifications. “Character is seen during difficult times. I had to keep my focus on completing my qualification,” says Khangale.

Other than his disability, Khangale also experienced other health complications during his studies.“I was hospitalised most of the time in my final year, and I would ask my doctor to discharge me to go home for my examinations. I wrote two of my final year modules from an ambulance in transit between the hospital and my home,” he shares.

He adds that he once experienced severe pain in the middle of the examination and had to log out from the exam. Unfortunately, he had to repeat the module. Yet, this setback could not defeat his determination to achieve his academic goals.

Khangale credits his achievement to the support of his family and doctor (Dr Kenoshi). He says: “My family was and still is my biggest source of support. Family members never doubted me.” He continues: “ Special mention to my nephew Mufunwa Mababo,  who used to organise previous question papers for me. That exercise prepared me for my examinations.”

“My other motivation came from my cousin, Maxwell Nemutshili, who always told me how capable I am and encouraged me to shake off the disability tag. He said being unable to walk did not mean I could not think,” Khangale says.

“Above all, the grace of God was enough to help me overcome difficulties,” he adds. Khangale’s achievement has motivated his partner, Phophi Davhana, to also further her studies next year. Davhana said she picked up the need to focus on what matters and the power of hope and action from her partner.


Ntshavheni Khangale says: “My family was and still is my biggest source of support.”

Khangale reiterates the importance of education in addressing the country and societal challenges. He is the first in his family to get a university qualification, having obtained a Higher Certificate in Banking in 2019, also from Unisa.   He dedicates his Bachelor of Commerce qualification to his family, especially his late mother, Ndiafhi Lydia Khangale.

He encourages students to remember why they registered to study and to let it motivate them not to give up. “The feeling of graduating can never be compared to the little struggle you encounter during your studies. Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated time and time again,” he says.


Ntshavheni Khangale says he dedicates his degree to his family, especially his late mother, Ndiafhi Lydia Khangale.

Khangale intends to enrol in a B Com Honours in Financial Modelling at Unisa. The university’s  Advocacy and Resource Centre for Students with Disabilities (ARCSWiD) is committed to providing services for students with disabilities at Unisa. ARCSWiD aims to create an enabling teaching and learning environment that leads to the full participation and equalisation of opportunities for students with disabilities.

*By Gilbert Mokwatedi, Communication and Marketing Manager, Unisa North Eastern Region

Publish date: 2024/05/14

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