UKZN staffer Mrs Ronica Bagwandin and her son Nervay graduated together – Ronica with a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree and Nervay a Postgraduate Diploma (Hons) in BCom Accounting.
Mom and son were overjoyed about sharing the occasion together, each dedicating their degree to the other.
Ronica, who achieved eight certificates of merit during her studies, decided to go on an educational journey with her son as she felt they would motivate each other. ‘It feels surreal. The pride and joy I feel right now are inexplicable. A parent wants nothing more than to see their child succeed – seeing him accomplish his dream is a blessing,’ she said. ‘We wept tears of joy together when we both passed our finals. That was the most precious moment in my life.’
Speaking about his mother’s achievement, Nervay added: ‘I admire her courage and strength to pursue her degree. She showed great perseverance and has always inspired me through leading by example. I am who I am because of her strength and determination.’
Ronica believes a good support structure at home and work helped her achieve her degree. ‘It was difficult at most times but the fruits of all the sacrifices and late nights have made it all worthwhile.
She thanked her family, friends and her work colleagues for encouraging her during her studies. ‘My husband Naresh has been my pillar through it all, and my manager Mduky Mabaso and my colleagues at the Department of Student Residence Affairs (DSRA) in Pietermaritzburg have been amazing.’
Offering advice to other students, Ronica said: ‘You have opportunities to succeed through education in the palms of your hands now. If you tilt your palm, you run the risk of losing it all, don’t even consider tilting your palms, else you will regret it later in life.’
Ronica is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) degree in Criminology and Forensic Sciences while Nervay is doing his articles at Price Water Coopers (PWC) in Pietermaritzburg.