Sweet Victory for Unathi Mtolo as He Graduates with BCom Degree

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Sweet Victory for Unathi Mtolo as He Graduates with BCom Degree

Sweet Victory for Unathi Mtolo as He Graduates with BCom Degree

Wise men maintain that those who reach their goals in life do not do so through having minimal challenges, but because they circumvent the curveballs life throws their way.

This is especially true for 26-year-old Unathi Mtolo from Umzimkulu, a small town in KwaZulu-Natal. He was born with conditions called Dyspraxia and Apraxia which resulted in him having difficulty to perform coordinated movements and caused speech impairment, respectively. Despite this obstacle, Unathi managed to complete his high school education and recently his undergraduate degree.

On Monday, 17 April 2023, Unathi graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting Science at the University of Zululand’s (UNIZULU) King Bhekuzulu Hall. He was accompanied by his parents, eldest brother and best friend Lwando Ntikinca, with whom he studied at UNIZULU.

According to his mother Boniswa Mtolo, Unathi was a breech baby, unlike his twin brother Anathi. “We noticed that Unathi was behind when he turned one. His brother had started to walk but he had not even begun crawling. After going to church, he was able to start moving. My brother-in-law then suggested that we take him to a special school in Harding, after which he attended another one in Durban. To see him graduating today brings us great joy as a family,” shared Boniswa.

Dumisani Mtolo, Unathi’s father, was also elated by his son’s accomplishment and attributed his success to the divine intervention of the Almighty God.  He further expressed gratitude towards the institution for moulding his son for the world of work.

Unathi also expressed great delight in having finally received his qualification, saying: “I believe it will give me a sense of dignity as, you know, people living with disabilities are so marginalised – especially in the black communities. So, this qualification will definitely change the status of my family and myself.”

He also emphasised that the triumph was much sweeter considering the hurdles he faced along the way. “My journey has been more of a rollercoaster. Academic wise, it was a struggle reaching out to the lecturers because of the communication barrier but over the years it gradually got better. Because of my disability, I find it very hard completing my tests and exams at the stipulated time frame. It was then later decided that I be given extra time during tests and exams and that really helped,” he reflected.  

During the hard lockdown in 2020 and 2021, the graduate grappled with the transition from physical to online learning. This proved to be hard mainly because the home environment is not necessarily conducive to learning. Adding to this complication, in the third quarter of 2021, Unathi went through a daunting financial crisis which led to him falling behind in his studies and eventually failing one module. He repeated this module in 2022. With the assistance of the Disability Unit coordinator Phiwayinkosi Mjadu, the graduate secured funding with another sponsor.

Amid the setbacks and disappointments, Unathi, who describes himself as a God-fearing optimist, never doubted the Almighty’s power. He firmly believes in the scripture in Romans 8:28 which reads: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. Therefore, he is unequivocal that it was by God’s grace that he made it to the finish line. He also acknowledged his family, best friend, study group, members of his church and those of Campus Impact (the religious society he belonged to) for the unwavering support throughout his academic journey.

The graduate is now seeking employment and aspires to further his studies in the near future.

His eldest brother Mkhuseli Mtolo said he wishes the UNIZULU alumnus nothing short of prosperity as he enters this new chapter in his life. Borrowing from a scripture in 2 Timothy 4:7, he highlighted: “He has fought the good fight and he has finished his race and kept the faith.”

– Naledi Hlefane

One Comment

  • I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.


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