Homelessness and the coronavirus pandemic not stopping this KZN man from studying

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Durban – NEITHER homelessness nor the coronavirus lockdown will stop a 29-year-old Hluhluwe man from achieving his dream of becoming an accountant and being able to provide for his family.

Sakhile Nsibande, who came to Durban in February, said he came to the city with a dream to study, even though there was no one to help him with money for rent as he came from a poor home.

He said he used to be the breadwinner at home and did odd jobs to provide for his family. Nsibande said he would pick up skills like pipe-fitting, but any progress made would be thwarted by his lack of qualifications and he would soon find himself unemployed again.

“Education is the only tool that you can use these days. No matter where you go to look for a job, they will ask if you have qualifications. If you don’t have qualifications, there is nothing you can do.”

Nsibande decided to start studying, using the little money he had to register for a higher certificate in Economics Management and Science at Unisa.

“I started studying last year and I was paying for myself,” he said.

Nsibande did not have a cellphone or laptop, and decided to come to Durban in February as the Unisa campus has internet access for students.

This year he applied for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and was granted money to study. While the NSFAS funding paid for study material and tuition fees, it did not cover accommodation and other costs.

“I did not pay for shelter as it is hard to get even R20 or R40 I used to sleep at Blue Lagoon in the bushes and would wake up in the morning and have breakfast at the Salvation Army, then go to study and have lunch at the Salvation Army again.”

When the virus broke out and homeless people were taken to municipal shelters, he continued his studies there.

“When I came to the municipal shelter, I explained my situation and they understood and helped me,” he said. Nsibande now goes to the Denis Hurley Centre for internet access.

“I wish that when I finish my certificate I can continue doing a degree,” Nsibande said.

He hoped to do a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting degree. “The family know that I am trying to make ends meet here in Durban. My mother is not healthy. It used to be me who was the breadwinner until I lost my job and decided to study,” he said.

Nsibande is looking for a job so he can support his family while furthering his studies.

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