College of Education

Young graduate equipped with the skills to make a real difference

Bridget Mabotha

Just after completing her matric, Bridget Mabotha planned to take a gap year because she did not have sufficient information regarding varsity applications. ‘Until,’ she says, ‘I met a stranger who came to my rescue and applied on my behalf to study through Unisa parttime.’ Today Mabotha is a proud 21-year-old Bachelor of Education graduate in intermediate and senior phase speciality, and she is thankful to have crossed paths with Unisa’s Stanley Namakhota, who assisted her in getting access to higher education.

‘I am excited and relieved that I have completed my qualification in record time,’ Mabotha says. ‘It has always been my dream to achieve my goals at an early age and demonstrate to young people that we can be conquerors regardless of our situations.’ The qualification enhanced Mabotha’s knowledge about the education industry and equipped her with brand-new teaching skills.

Born and raised in Limpopo’s Ga Sekhukhune village, Mabotha matriculated in 2017 at Fetakgomo Senior Secondary School. Although she completed her studies with Unisa in record time, Mabotha attests that distance learning was difficult for a student like herself coming straight from a face-to-face high school. ‘The first year was tough because I thought Unisa operates like any other university, but I was mistaken. Knowing that my financial background did not allow me to study through residential universities, I gathered my strength and pushed hard to make it in distance learning,’ she says.

Mabotha reflects on the amazing opportunity she got where distance learning enabled her to work and study at the same time during her second and third level of studies. ‘I was employed by a filling station and I coped well in balancing work with my studies.’ But Mabotha’s first year of practicals was hard as she worked night shifts and had to go to school in the morning. Mabotha further notes, ‘The study materials we got from Unisa helped immensely because some of us cannot afford to buy textbooks.’ Mabotha says the use of a Telegram messaging group also played a major role in accessing all the required documents for her modules.

In future, Mabotha wants to be employed as a teacher and build her career by studying further. She wishes to become a positive mentor to learners. As a student coming from Ga Sekhukhune, Mabotha believes that access to education teaches people to have their own knowledge, mindset, and critical thinking. ‘Whether poor or rich,’ she says, ‘you have to be educated as nothing stays good forever.’ In her message to other students, Mabotha says, ‘My advice to fellow students is that they should stay brave and push harder – study hard, never give up, multitask and always think positively.’ In addition, Mabotha says that prospective students should go out there, seek help, and stay independent.  

Mabotha’s academic journey with Unisa has been incredible. She concludes, ‘I survived this journey by being a self-disciplined student with the aim of achieving what I set my focus on – I  wrote my assignments daily and I revised all the work before the examination began.’

*By Lesego Chiloane-Ravhudzulo, Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022-05-11 00:00:00.0