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Taxi driver graduates as a teacher

Nkazimulo Khumalo, a taxi driver who completed his bachelor of education degree at Unisa during his work in Ivory Park outside Tembisa.
Nkazimulo Khumalo, a taxi driver who completed his bachelor of education degree at Unisa during his work in Ivory Park outside Tembisa.

Taxi driver Nkazimulo Khumalo has proven that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

The 28-year-old driver from Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, recently graduated with a bachelor degree in education from the University of South Africa.

Khumalo, who works between Sunninghill and Ivory Park in Midrand, Johannesburg, used his earnings to pay for his studies.

He leaves home daily at 3am for his taxi work and return home just after 9pm.

"I enrolled at Unisa in 2015 and I had to take care of my siblings as well. I only managed to study when I was 'binding' (waiting for his turn to load passengers). I would dedicate three hours a day to study and it was not difficult at all because I am a focused person," he said.

The soft-spoken Khumalo, who looked snazzy in a tie, said he joined the taxi industry while he was still very young because he wanted to put something on the table for his family.

"I am the eldest at home and had to do something to take care of my family. It was not easy being a taxi driver as I have been shouted at many times and even told that I was useless by some passengers, but that never changed the person that I am.

"I knew that the same person shouting at me would have their children being taught by me one day."

He said he fell in love with teaching when he was in grade 9 as he used to watch his creative arts teacher in class.

"He loved what he was doing and one could see he was doing it from the bottom of his heart. He inspired and guided me through my high school years and he always told me that nothing is impossible as long as you have positive mindset.

"I have lived my life with the positive mindset, which is why I have managed to push through, irrespective of the challenges."

Khumalo said his degree is his pride because he worked hard for it.

"Nothing has changed, I am still a taxi driver and I hope to find a teaching job soon. I would like to teach in the township schools so as to motivate pupils not to throw their future down the drain. They should never let their circumstances determine their future."

His girlfriend Thandi Lubisi, 24, expressed pride in her boyfriend.

"For us, education has always been the most important tool to give us a better future. Seeing him graduate was an emotional moment for me as I know the difficulties he went through to get his degree," Lubisi, a former petrol attendant, said.

"He also inspired me to concentrate on my studies and I will also be graduating next year."

Khumalo's rank manager Freedom Khumalo described him as a respectful person. "He could not have reached where he is today if it was not for his manners."

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