VUT chemistry associate professor celebrates granddaughter’s graduation

By: Qhawekazi Memani  – 14 September 2023

It’s not every day that during one’s graduations, their grandmother is there to witness it all, even more so, as part of the academic procession, right? Well, it happened for Nompumelelo Bianca Xaba. Nompumelelo graduated for her Diploma in Biotechnology at the recent Vaal University of Technology (VUT) Spring Graduations. But to put the cherry on top she was surrounded by the two most influential women in her life – her mother, Sindi Xaba and cherished granny, Prof Thokokozani Xaba, a Chemistry professor and senior lecturer at VUT.

Nompumelelo’s journey at VUT was marked by resilience, determination, and unwavering support. She shared that she enrolled in 2013, but after only two months, she faced personal challenges that led to her temporary departure but returned in 2016 with a renewed commitment to complete what she had started, regardless of the obstacles. “The road was tough, with numerous highs and lows. Even after finishing my studies in 2020, securing in-service training proved elusive. However, through the grace of God, I persevered and graduated”, she said.

Overwhelmed with pride, Nompumelelo acknowledged the pivotal roles played by her support system. “I owe this achievement to God, my incredibly supportive mother and devoted granny– their unwavering encouragement has been my bedrock,” she expressed.

Prof Xaba, also shared her profound pride, saying that Nompumelelo has made her an exceptionally proud granny, or ‘Gogo’ as many would say. “She is my sister’s first daughter, which is why I hold the title of granny to her. I never imagined this day would come, experiencing such a profound blessing in my life. I’ve dreamt of this moment for a long time. Tears welled up in my eyes as I watched her step onto the podium. It was almost surreal to believe that she had finally achieved it. Moving forward, I am determined to guide her towards the same heights I’ve reached, as she has demonstrated her remarkable capabilities.”

From a financial perspective, Nompumelelo’s educational pursuits were made possible through the generous support of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), underscoring the critical role of accessible financial assistance in empowering determined individuals like Nompumelelo to achieve their academic aspirations.

Congratulations Nompumelelo!