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From cleaner to university graduate. Her story is inspiring

She spent most of her time cleaning a university campus. But now she has walked down the red carpet.

Sthembile Mngwengwe has now been dubbed as "Miss Graduate Cleaner" after she bagged her degree at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

In the last round of graduations for the year, 40-year-old Mngwengwe from Cato Ridge near Pietermaritzburg was bestowed with her degree.

While she continues to maintain her job as a cleaner, Mngwengwe’s next step in her academic journey will be her postgraduate degree, in which she has enrolled for next year.

“I feel like I am a superstar and like all the doors that were shut are opening. I am super happy and very proud of myself.”

Based at the university’s Pietermaritzburg campus, Mngwengwe always longed to study to improve her life, but a lack of finances held her back.

“My parents did not have enough money for me to pursue my studies, and at the time there was no NSFAS, so I found a job and started working.”

She first set foot on the campus in 2007 as a cleaner for an outsourced cleaning company.

“In 2016 I was insourced by the university and that is when I got an opportunity to study because staff get a remission.”

She started her studies in 2018, cleaning and attending lectures.

“There were so many challenges I faced. I used to come very early to clean up the offices, especially if I had to attend a morning class.”

In her first year, Mngwengwe had to write supplementary exams in all her modules.

But her friends and co-workers encouraged her not to give up.


Content created and supplied by: SheSays (via Opera News )

Cato Mngwengwe Pietermaritzburg Sthembile Mngwengwe University of KwaZulu


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