Inspiring graduation photo trends
Puleng Serame had to overcome tuberculosis (TB) before writing her matric exams, which affected her results.
However, the 25-year-old from Bothaville in Free State recovered and registered for university, where she graduated with a diploma in software development (IT) last month.
Her graduation picture, together with six other young women from Welkom, went viral on social media last week, serving as a source of inspiration. The graduates's pictures from the Central University of Technology (CUT), posing in cap and gown against a backdrop of the dusty streets of Thabong - a township in Welkom - were shared widely.
Thabong is an area rife with youth unemployment, gangsterism and illegal mining after the shutdown of mines.
Serame was raised by a single parent and said she was proud to be an inspiration for black youth throughout South Africa.
"The conditions in Thabong are not nice; we get mugged on our way to school and that is the norm," she said.
"It is the greatest feeling ever, especially to inspire other young women in Free State, showing the black child that it is possible no matter the challenges," said Serame.
Like many young graduates in SA, Puleng has struggled to find work since October. She is currently enrolled for a postgraduate certificate in education because she is passionate about teaching.
Another graduate who appeared alongside Serame, Refilwe Mofokeng, had to juggle her day job and being a mother to her seven-year-old son.
"It's challenging doing it all in one. I live alone and I have to do everything for myself and my son," said Mofokeng.
Mofokeng, who graduated with a BTech degree in language practices, is currently enrolled for a masters degree at CUT. Since she started working as a part-time lecturer at her university, her life has changed for the better.
"I am able to fetch my son on time from school now because I bought a car. My life has really changed."