download (5) Durban University of Technology student Bonginkosi Hilton, who graduated cum laude with a national diploma in internal auditing “I didn’t have a place to stay or money for registration or tuition when I arrived (in 2009),” Hilton said. “The taxi I took from Ladysmith offloaded some of its passengers at a garage (near the campus). I travelled on my own and knew no-one in Durban. I slept in front of the garage shop.” Coupled with the snaking queues for the National Students Financial Aid Scheme, the situation became too much for Hilton. “I was frustrated and I decided to go back home. But I realised that giving up is not an option and returned to Durban after a week.” And he has never looked back. Having secured funding, Hilton enrolled and buried himself in his studies while living in a room behind a friend’s office. Excellent results in his first two years secured him a bursary for his third-year studies. “I learnt that in life the biggest problem is money, but never make it an issue. A lack of money should not prevent you from pursuing your dreams. What you came to university for should be your main priority, not money.” Asked whether his success was due to hard work or natural ability, Hilton laughed, saying it was not the latter. “My matric results were average, mostly Bs and Cs.” He was motivated to study hard by the sight of the financial statement for his student loan. “When you see that financial statement, and what your studies cost – R15 000 that is not yours – that is a lot of money to waste,” he said. Asked if he had a life outside the library, Hilton said: “Students should have fun, but must prioritise their studies. You can’t have Christmas every day.” SOURCE: IOL & MailandGuardian

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