Despite being older than her whole class, Nokwanda Popiel defied the odds as she graduated with a National Diploma in Office Management and Technology from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) this past week.
In a statement released by the university, it said that Popiel was approaching the age of 50 when she enrolled at CPUT in 2016. However, Popiel’s journey towards tertiary education was slightly different as she had to drop out of school in Grade 10 to help her mother raise her siblings.
She then worked as a domestic worker on weekends and went back to school in 1992 where she completed her schooling career. After matric, she also volunteered at several Non-Governmental Organisations before enrolling at CPUT.
Popiel indicates that although it was intimidating at first to be in a class full of students who were decades younger than her, her strategy was to be positive and keen to learn.
“I cannot describe how I feel. It’s been a long journey but, in the end, I made it. It’s about finishing what you start, no matter how long it takes, “Popiel said.
On receiving her diploma she also thanked all her classmates as well as all her lecturers.