Advertising guru Rorisang Setlogelo ditched her studies at 21 in a bid to help support her widowed mother.
Setlogelo, 34, who recently enrolled for a BCom marketing degree with Unisa, said she left the University of the Witwatersrand, where she was studying for the same degree, to work as a waitress.
Although employment gave her financial security and a car, Setlogelo, who has since opened her own advertising agency, recalls how she often had to make sure that her mother's house was not repossessed by helping out financially after she lost her stepfather at the age of 15.
After waitressing she joined Coca-Cola and South African Breweries (SAB), where she worked at various times as a brand manager, promoter, brand ambassador and brand developer.
"I was in my third year when it did not become financially viable for me to continue with my studies. What I made had to go towards car payments and accommodation and I had to make sure that I send money back home," Setlogelo said.
Setlogelo, from Heuwelsig in Bloemfontein, now owns Roth Media, an advertising agency and employs 11 people. Her six-year-old company is based in Bryanston, Johannesburg.
"I left SAB after six years and did an eight-month learnership at an advertising agency, then started my company."
Roth Media started with one client but now has about 20. Five clients are on retainer and 15 are on a project basis.