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From medical scrubs to legal robe

Born in Gauteng Province and raised in the rural village of Letswatla outside Senwabarwana (Bochum), Itumeleng Corlet Moropo’s academic journey shows that a career transition is doable with the help of a university which makes education accessible. From the halls of nursing colleges to the corridors of law schools, his story resonates with the power of education, opportunity, passion, and dedication.


Itumeleng Corlet Moropo

At 28 years old, Moropo is a beacon of hope for his family and countless others who dare to dream despite facing difficulties. His educational odyssey began in 2012 when he completed his matric. Raised by his grandmother in an extended family, Moropo’s journey started with a desire to uplift his family from poverty.

In 2013, he enrolled for a BA in Admin and Public Management at the University of Pretoria. At the time, he was a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) beneficiary, which gave him a book allowance of R4,000. In contrast, the quoted price for the prescribed books was around R9 000. Adding to this challenge was the fact that he commuted long distances. He had to walk from Tswelopele in Tembisa to Olifantsfontein to catch a train to Bosman Station in Pretoria Central, where he had to catch a train to Rissik Station along Mamelodi road towards Hatfield Campus.

Moropo’s decision to pursue nursing was a pragmatic one, fuelled by a bursary opportunity from the Limpopo Department of Health, which his former Northern Sotho teacher had applied for him, leading him to forsake a previous academic pursuit at the University of Pretoria. Paving the way for his nursing education, the bursary covered tuition, transport, accommodation, and a stipend. He said: “I can only conclude that being a nurse was dictated by economic circumstances and perhaps by divine intervention of a bursary opportunity.”

Moropo graduated with his Diploma in Nursing at Limpopo Nursing College in 2016 and commenced community service at Mankweng Hospital in 2017. During these formative years, he witnessed the profound impact of healing and the stark realities of healthcare disparities. As he traversed the corridors of hospitals, offering solace and care to the ailing, he grew a profound ambition – to champion justice beyond the confines of medical wards.

After fulfilling his community service in 2018, Moropo seized the opportunity to pursue his LLB degree at Unisa. He explains why Unisa was his university of choice: “As a distance learning institution, Unisa is the only university that made it possible to attain my dream of becoming a lawyer. Its teaching and learning modality afforded me the autonomy to study while juggling multiple roles.”

Today, Moropo stands on the threshold of a new chapter, poised to merge his healing hands with legal acumen as he embarks on his articles training as a candidate attorney. He is pursuing a master’s degree in labour law at Unisa and dreams of opening a law firm, pursuing his PhD, and ultimately becoming a judge. He says to aspiring students facing similar challenges: “No matter the circumstances, you should never give up on your dreams. Delay is not denial.” 


*By Seyabonga Thipe, Intern Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2024/03/25

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