Meet the cleaner who graduated at the university she buffs and shines

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When Sthembile Mngwengwe refers to herself as "Miss Graduate Cleaner," she glows with pride. She has progressed from dusting the University of KwaZulu-sacred Natal's halls to graduating with a degree in social science. Mngwengwe, 40, of Cato Ridge, near Pietermaritzburg, received her degree at the year's last round of graduations. While she will continue to work as a cleaner, Mngwengwe's next academic step will be pursuing a postgraduate degree, which she has registered in for next year.See the source image

"I feel like a celebrity, as if all the doors that had been closed are now opening. I am overjoyed and quite proud of myself." Mngwengwe, who is based on the university's Pietermaritzburg campus, has always desired to study in order to better her life, but financial constraints prevented her from doing so. "My parents did not have enough money to support me throughout my education, and there was no NSFAS at the time, so I got jobs and began working."

In 2007, she began working on campus as a cleaner for an outsourced cleaning firm. "In 2016, the university insourced me, which gave me the ability to study since employees get a remission." In 2018, she began her education by cleaning and attending classes. "I confronted a slew of obstacles. I used to arrive really early to clean the offices, particularly if I had a morning lesson."See the source image

Mngwengwe was required to complete additional tests in all of her subjects during her first year. However, her friends and coworkers urged her to persevere. "I am certain that when God puts an idea in your heart, he will provide you with the strength to carry it out." "I pursued a social science degree since it enables me to work in a variety of disciplines. Eventually, I'd want to work in human resources.

"My family is really proud of me since I am the oldest child; hence, all of my siblings will follow in my footsteps. "I am evidence that regardless of your age, you can still achieve your ambitions. "I feel fortunate to have this certification."See the source image


Meet the cleaner who graduated at the university she buffs and shines (

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