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Funding delay didn't block dreams

Land surveyor returns favour for her parents

Noxolo Sibiya Journalist
Philiswa Magagula a senior land surveyor at Congcor Constructions.
Philiswa Magagula a senior land surveyor at Congcor Constructions.
Image: Supplied

Philiswa Magagula believes it was her mother’s catering business that helped her enrol at university as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) took too long to pay for her registration and accommodation fees.

She had applied for the NSFAS in 2011 and qualified, however the fund delayed allocating her fees and her mother, who had a catering business, had to fund her education at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) where she had enrolled for a national diploma in land surveying.

Her father, a former mineworker, had started a taxi business and her mother had to pay to keep her at varsity while they waited for NSFAS to pay. The fund paid her fees months later. 

Magagula, who was raised in Elukwatini near Mbombela, Mpumalanga, said she had to study hard to make sure she retained her NSFAS funding and eventually completed her studies. After graduating, she struggled to find a land surveying job and worked at a retail shop earning just over R2,000 a month. 

“I got a call from Murray and Robert, a construction company, inviting me to an interview for a learnership while I was working at the clothing store. I was then accepted. It was a bursary to further obtain my BTech while I was working for them. I have been working for them ever since,” said Magagula. 

Her father’s taxi business was not doing well and she had to help her parents out and later renovated their home. 

She now leads a team of nine surveyors who measure and map the shape of landThey gather data for civil engineering and construction projects so that accurate site plans can be drawn.

“I am now the bread winner for my parents,” she said. 


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