AGAINST ALL ODDS: VUT CONFERS POLICING DIPLOMA ON DISABLED STUDENT THOMAS MBONGENI SONO
By Puleng Maphisa 26 May 2022
“Push hard and everything else can be achieved,” said disabled student, Thomas Mbongeni Sono shortly after graduating with a Diploma in Policy during the Vaal University of Techonology (VUT’s) 2022 Autumn Graduation Ceremony held in the Desmond Tutu Great Hall on 20th May 2022.
Thomas’s accomplishment is a massive milestone. His hard work has finally paid off.
Upon his arrival at VUT Thomas was warmly welcomed by Malcolm Mahange, a Disability Caregiver from the Social Justice and Transformation department.
Offering insights and wisdom about the value of education, Thomas said: “education is a goose that lays golden eggs; it can conquer mountains more especially when you are blind for you can’t work with your hands. What normally happens is that utilize your brains more.”
He acknowledges that it is not easy for society to embrace people with disabilities, especially a blind person like him. However, arriving at VUT and meeting Malcolm was helpful and made his student life relatively easy. Malcolm helped him choose his preferred programme and assisted with registrations throughout the years.
It has always been Thomas’s dream to study Policing in order to prevent crime. When VUT opened doors, he grabbed that opportunity with both hands. Attending online classes was a perpetual challenge, but in most cases, Malcolm would assist to capture lecturers’ notes during contact lessons and send them to Thomas. “Also, having an assisting device that was purchased through NSFAS made it easy for me to study and write,” said Thomas happily.
Currently, he is pursuing an Advanced Diploma in Policing.
To fellow 2022 graduates, Thomas conveyed a congratulatory message: “It was not easy, but they have made it through sweat and sleepless nights”.