Eight years ago Zolani Bethela worked as a petrol attendant at a BP garage in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown).
On Saturday, the 26-year-old from Joza township outside Makhanda, graduated with an honours degree in industrial Sociology at Rhodes University.
Bethela, who did not have money to further his studies after matric, said he never gave up on his dream to succeed despite the adversity.
He recalled how one day a car pulled up at the petrol station and he overheard a father scolding his daughter saying she would end up as a petrol attendant if she did not listen.
This, Bethela said, pushed him to consider going back to further his studies.
"I decided there and then to go back to school. However, I had to improve my matric results as I had received a D average," Bethela said