Graduate Turns Tragedy to Triumph

Following a horrific car accident which nearly claimed the lives of his whole family, University of Zululand (UNIZULU) graduate Simphiwe Mbona (22) did not imagine that on Wednesday, 15 May 2019 he would be among the top graduates in the Faculty of Arts.

Ironically, it was on Mother’s Day when Mbona, born in Port Shepstone and raised in Phoenix, Durban, received a phone call informing him that his mother and two other family members had been involved in an accident that left the car beyond repairs.

Mbona, in Level two at the time, was preparing for his examinations. He was faced with the dilemma of either completely succumbing to grief or soldiering on and preparing for his exams while his family members were fighting for their lives in hospital.

“When I got the call, it was just panic, panic and panic! I could not cope, I won’t lie. It was a horrible experience that I wouldn’t wish on anybody else. Examinations were approaching (so) I could not go and visit my family, especially my mother who had suffered a fractured arm injury. Even the whole class could see that I was suffering because during that period, I was no longer myself. My performance (had also) dropped,” Mbona recalled.

He added that despite the accident being an unfortunate experience for him, it surprisingly motivated him to “push harder than before” in his studies. He knew then that he had to graduate in record time. He thereafter pulled his socks up and excelled academically like he had done before.

“I started participating and exposing myself to a lot of things. Rather than being a full-time student, I became a hustler. I became a tutor and began side-hustling. I had that hunger to achieve because (I realised that) God (only) gives us one life (to live),” he said.

When he found out that he was in the top five in the faculty, Mbona kept it a secret to his family because he wanted it to be a complete surprise to them.

Of his accomplishment, Mbona said it was all thanks to the support of his family, friends, classmates and lecturers from the University’s Department of Creative Arts.

– Samkele Sokhela

Caption

From left: Qinisela Mbona (graduate’s father), Sthokozile (sister), Simphiwe and Nomathamsanqa Mbona (mother) at the King Bhekuzulu Hall, KwaDlangezwa Campus.