From do­mes­tic worker to class teacher

New grad­u­ate Hlongwa gets teach­ing post

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Karabo Led­waba

A woman who had worked as a do­mes­tic worker for more than a decade has fi­nally re­alised her dream of be­com­ing a teacher.

Last week, Bon­isiwe Hlongwa, 48, grad­u­ated with her teach­ing diploma from SANTS Pri­vate Higher Ed­u­ca­tion In­sti­tu­tion af­ter three years of study. Hlongwa, whose par­ents died while she was still at school, said she never be­lieved that she would fur­ther her educ­tion.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to be a teacher, it was my dream. “But I never thought it would hap­pen be­cause I had to work to feed my­self,” said Hlongwa, who lives in Ma­ti­ma­tolo, KwaZulu-Natal. “I have al­ready been given a job as a Grade R teacher at Bhek­izwe Pri­mary School and I re­ally en­joy my work.” The mother of two said she was the first grad­u­ate in her fam­ily and wants to be an in­spi­ra­tion to oth­ers who want to change their lives for the bet­ter.

“It started small. I first got en­cour­aged to do my [driver’s] li­cence and when I passed, I re­alised I could still con­tinue with school.

“It is im­por­tant for me to con­tinue with school so that I can be an in­spi­ra­tion to my chil­dren.

“They can learn from me – even though I am at this age, I can achieve a lot.” Hlongwa said she was lucky that her ex­pe­ri­ence as a do­mes­tic worker was a good one be­cause she worked for a fam­ily that treated her like their own fam­ily mem­ber. Although she stopped work­ing as a do­mes­tic worker in 2003 and be­came a housewife to a po­lice­man, she re­mained close to her pre­vi­ous em­ployer, who was in­stru­men­tal in en­cour­ag­ing her to pur­sue her stud­ies.

“I was treated like a sis­ter by my em­ployer and I helped her raise her kids.

“She was very sup­port­ive and en­cour­aged me to pur­sue my stud­ies,” she said. Ler­ato Kort­jass, 24, whose fam­ily em­ployed Hlongwa as a do­mes­tic worker, said she was proud of her amaz­ing achieve­ment.

“She doesn’t re­alise how in­stru­men­tal she has been in my life be­cause she was there since the day I was born. She raised me as her own from day one.

“She went from not un­der­stand­ing a word of English to this...

“It’s the most amaz­ing achieve­ment... we don’t even have words,” Kort­jass said.

I was treated like a sis­ter by my em­ployer

Bon­isiwe Hlongwa qual­i­fied as a teacher af­ter years of work­ing as a do­mes­tic.

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