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From a cleaner to an LLB graduate

Lavhelesani Ramudingane recently graduated with an LLB degree from Unisa. Born and raised in the rural Venda village of Tshidzivhe Venda, Ramudingane went to Tshivhase High School and matriculated in 2003, passing with flying colours. He endeavoured to enrol for an engineering course but was, unfortunately, unable to pursue his dream owing to financial constraints. A couple of years later, he found a cleaning job. This opportunity would soon rewrite his story as three years after he joined the company in his occupation as a cleaner, he was nominated as a BankSeta Letsema Learner by CareerWise and placed at Absa Towers, for a learnership opportunity.

Lavhelesani Ramudingane

While the opportunity, changed his fate, it also presented great challenges. Ramudingane explains: “It was very difficult for me to work in that capacity because of the poor communication skills I had at the time. I also was not fluent in English and struggled to adapt to the organisational culture.” As time went by, Ramudingane learned to adapt and also grew a curiosity to learn and develop himself. He would soon learn about Unisa and its service as an open, distance and eLearning institution. Curious to see whether he would be accepted to study at the university, “One day I decided to visit the Unisa Johannesburg CBD campus to enquire if I could qualify to study for an LLB degree. A couple of months later, I received the good news that I was accepted to study at the university.”

A few years later, Ramudingane is now a graduate at Unisa. Asked how he feels about the achievement, he says: “Reaching this goal gave me a great sense of accomplishment, especially because of where I come from. I am also very grateful to the people who inspired my success.” Sharing the crucial role his wife played, he says: “I appreciate the level of maturity and understanding my wife displayed throughout my studies. She has been a great support system. I furthermore appreciate her encouragement and the duty she held incumbent upon herself to always remind me of my assignments due dates as well as helping me type and submit some schoolwork.”

Ramudingane also explains that Unisa also made available resources that aided his learning in a way which made things effective for him. He says: “I appreciate the face-to-face availability of my lectures as well as tutorial classes, they were really helpful. I also want to express my great appreciation for my employer, Absa, for the financial support they offered me to get to study and complete the degree.”

Ramudingane’s resolve to succeed against all odds was unshakable and his ability to seize opportunities has yielded great results. Asked what advice he can give to students who come from similar backgrounds, he says: “The background you come from should never limit you, your thinking and your dreams. If anything, use it to encourage you to do and be better. Also, look for opportunities that exist around you and seize the moment.” Prepared to walk the talk, he says that while he is happy about his achievement, he still has a long way to go. “I am now working towards being admitted as an attorney and to eventually be a conveyancer.”

Ramudingane’s story is a lesson that opportunities are all around, waiting for an observant eye to discover and seize them.

*By Tshimangadzo Mphaphuli, Senior Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022/05/05