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Ordinary Soweto student graduates with distinctions amidst varsity challenges

​Lorraine Matshazi graduated at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in the Faculty of Management with a BA degree; Honours degree; and MA degree, in Public Management and Governance respectively, with distinctions.

Raised by both parents who are not university graduates, Lorraine made it her priority to aim as high as possible and leave a legacy. “My parents made sure that their children are educated regardless of them being deprived of the opportunity, therefore making them and myself proud takes precedence. I adore them because they make lemonade out of the lemons that life throws at them and they taught us how to be strong and always strive to make ends meet,” she explained.

Lorraine did not have sufficient financial means to maintain a basic life, which was her major struggle as her mother would always get sick and she, Lorraine, would sometimes go to bed without eating. “Coming from a humble background meant I am in no position to fit into varsity life and make demands at home. I ended up learning how to plait hair for some cash, but I gained my financial freedom when I got a job as a tutor in the department of Public Management & Governance in 2012 while doing my third year. With the little money that I made, I was able to help my siblings.”

The 24-year-old says her secret to passing with distinctions is a simple one but hard to commit to. She used to work hard and play less, with discipline and self -control being the key factors for success. “The library used to be my best friend and surrounding myself with people who were as dedicated as I am helped,” Lorraine emphasised.

The humble and God-fearing individual believes in self-worth, uplifting other people and continually failing forward. She also states that her tough upbringing made her who she is and she wants to make others see that there is hope. “Value yourself, don’t conform to the norms of society but be willing to make your society a better place. How else would we know what we are capable of if we don’t try and make mistakes?” she concluded.

Lorraine is passionate about Pubic Policy and aspires to impact the South African government system and sees herself as a future Director General/ Policy analyst…

Her achievements include:

· 2008, Awarded the best student in Commercial subjects in her matric

· 2011, Received the top-achiever award and made it to the Dean’s list

· 2013, Graduated cum-laude in BA Public Management and Governance

· 2015, Graduated cum-laude in BA Honours Public Management and Governance

· 2017, Graduated cum-laude in MA Public Management and Governance · 2017, Registered new member of the Golden Key South Africa

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