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From security guard to social worker

Although the coronavirus lockdown prevented Tinyiko ‘Lucky’ Maluleke’s Unisa graduation ceremony from going ahead as planned, his colleagues celebrated his success through emails of congratulations.

Tinyiko ‘Lucky’ Maluleke is set to make his career move from security guard to qualified social worker.

After eight years of juggling studies, a full-time job and family commitments, Tinyiko ‘Lucky’ Maluleke (42) is set to make his career move from security guard to qualified social worker soon.

Lucky is a father of three and grew up in a village called Xisasi (Merwe B) Malamulele in Limpopo.

Today, he lives in the eastern suburbs of Johannesburg east.

The Rand Aid Association employee took eight years to achieve his bachelor of social work degree through Unisa.

Social work interested Lucky from a young age.

The graduate said domestic abuse was common in his family.

“This motivated me to pursue a career where I could assist and empower people to help themselves and change their circumstances.

“I was motivated to do social work because I want to help people deal with the social ills that prevent them from reaching their potential,” he said.

His degree did not come easily.

He enrolled in 2010, but did not finish as quickly as planned because of a host of challenges.

“In my first year, I discovered that I had taken the incorrect modules,“ said Lucky.

Family problems forced him to take a gap year in 2012.

In 2016, he was dropped by the organisation that had agreed to place him for his practical work, and as a full-time security guard, he was constantly under pressure to complete his practical modules on time.

“The theory aspects of my studies presented far fewer challenges,” said Lucky.

“In 2018, I managed to complete at least two practical modules and deregistered one due to time constraints.”

In 2019, Lucky succeeded in completing the remaining practical module.

Balancing work, family and studies took much manoeuvring for the graduate.

“Fresh from a night shift, I would have to either attend Unisa supervision sessions, report for my practical work at the placement organisation or attend Unisa workshops.


“Often, I went without sleep. I also did not see as much of my family as I would have liked,” he said.

Lucky joined Rand Aid’s security team in August 2007.

“Rand Aid has been extremely supportive.

“They intervened in 2013 when I battled to pay my tuition,” he said.

The association assisted Lucky financially until 2016.

They also arranged for him to work night shift only and get three consecutive days off to accommodate his studies.

When the coronavirus restrictions are eased, the graduate plans to register with the South African Council for Social Services Professions.

For now, he is playing an essential role at Rand Aid in helping to keep the residents of the NPO’s retirement villages and care centres safe in the face of the global pandemic.

*By Lebogang Sekgwama | 29 April 2020

This article first appeared in the Bedfordview and Edenvale News and is used by permission. You can read the original here.

Publish date: 2020/05/04