It was in his final year that 27-year-old Tlotliso Matea faced his biggest challenge in his tertiary education journey. The natural born go-getter lost the funding that would enable him to finish his Diploma in Accountancy in record time.
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) student put a lot of effort into his studies and his side business before he was eventually able to graduate.
“I had to make ends meet so I could pay for everything and finish my Diploma.”
Tlotliso taught himself software engineering through free courses online and this allowed him to gain a skill that set in motion a small business for him.
“I was able to work on projects like building websites for individuals and other small businesses. With that money I was able to pay for my necessities, pay rent and groceries.”
Looking back at his three-year journey at UJ, Tlotliso did not see himself studying anywhere else.
“It was my friend who inspired me to choose UJ as my institute of choice. I immediately fell in love with Joburg and the institution after he showed me the campus and the surrounding area.”
Tlotliso decided then and there that UJ was his best choice and only applied to attend his tertiary schooling while completing his Matric back home in Limpopo.
“I can truly say the last three years have been a great ride because of the support I received from my friends and family although it did come with some challenges. I enjoyed my time at this university.”
For Tlotliso, not even the sky’s the limit. He walked across the graduation stage this week with the support of his proud mother Angel, who clapped and cheered him on in the audience.
Angel felt a special sense of pride, given that Tlotliso is her first born child.
“I am happy to see this moment, celebrating this occasion means so much to us. He follows in the footsteps of his uncles who have graduated. I can’t express my happiness, it is through the grace of God that we have been able to reach this point.”
Angel said it was important for parents to support, motivate and allow their children to study what they wanted to.
“I am glad he worked towards this and I know he will see it through. As parents we never want our children to lose hope so we motivate them to become the best versions of themselves.”
Tlotliso has ‘fallen in love’ with software engineering and has researched ways to use both his skills.
“I found that I can use my software engineering skills and my Diploma in Accountancy in Financial Technology (FinTech). Now I am making sure I secure that path by doing everything I need academically and practically.”
He says he can already see himself as a FinTech specialist or software engineer for an influential tech company.
“I’ve already started furthering my studies in IT to make this dream come true.”
His advice to other students is to make sure they use the knowledge they have learnt.
“Everything you have learnt, put it into practice and it will all unfold over time. If you don’t know what to do, try a little bit of everything and you will find your niche.”
The autumn graduation series, comprising 46 ceremonies, is taking place until 19 April 2023 at the Kingsway Campus auditorium.