A woman’s journey: Eight Years in The Making
Whilst many students were jubilant, some even choosing to prance and dance across the DUT (Durban University of Technology) Autumn graduation stage on Wednesday, 20 July. For Journalism graduate, Nontando Mhlongo it was a moment of reckoning, it was an emotional and teary walk.
Mhlongo who was born and raised in the Northern parts of KwaZulu – Natal, Empangeni, describes the walk across the stage as the culmination of an eight-year journey to satiety.
Obtaining her National Diploma in Journalism, she said, “It felt destined to happen, fulfilling. I felt a feeling of satiety, of all the life experiences and all the challenges I had to go through. I just thought to myself that they were all accumulating for me to experience that moment of me just walking across the stage.”
Shedding tears at what she describes as a surreal moment, the 28-year-old reflected on the numerous challenges she had to overcome during her academic journey, from having to take a break in her studies due to financial difficulties, self-doubt, and a bevvy of other emotions, she says it was through the encouragement and support she got from the women around her that saw her through.
“Throughout my second try at completing my studies, throughout this journey, I’ve been upheld and surrounded by a village of women who encouraged and supported me, they helped me achieve this goal,” explained Mhlongo.
Being a mother of two sons, the graduation left her with something tangible to show her boys that no matter what they go through, they should they push through and persevere, although the journey might not be easy and perfect.
“The graduation was worth it, it was everything and more, even though it can never be perfect, even though it can never meet your exact expectations it’s always fulfilling, and always amazing,” said Mhlongo.
When asked about the takeaways of her journey, Nontando humorously sang, Aaliyah’s, ‘Age ain’t nothing but a number!’, saying, “You can do what you want, at any given time, at any stage of your life. Remember, success doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a lot of courage and hard work, and being patient with yourself, amidst all the criticism. Show up for yourself!”
The ambitious Mhlongo, said she is planning to further her studies, and diversify into other media related spaces.
“I am leaning towards focusing on being someone who does copyright to merge my qualification and experience of having run a business,” she said.