Nontsikelelo-Nako_body Born in the small township of Clermont in KwaZulu-Natal, Nontsikelelo Nako (24) never allowed her destitute family background to stand in the way of pursuing her academic aspirations. Today, she walks tall as she reaps the benefits of her hard work. During her academic journey at Unisa, Nontsikelelo completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science, and an Honours in Integrated Organisational Communication Nontsikelelo was raised by a single mother who financed her studies through a loan. Despite her progress in life, she still vividly recalls the hardships she went through while studying towards her junior degree, which she completed in 2013. She says that although her journey wasn’t an easy one, the community was a source of strength at the height of many challenges. “My background was my motivation,” says Nontsikelelo. “I told myself that one day I will be fine. When I looked at the material conditions of my community, I realised that I could only break the cycle of poverty through education. I never saw myself as dropout. My mother always told me to humble myself and focus on my studies.” Nontsikelelo, who is the first member of her family to acquire a university degree, began her study journey at Unisa in 2010 after completing a Certificate in Social Auxiliary Work at a private college. Little did she know that she would later become a students’ representative council (SRC) member. It was in 2011 that she became interested in student politics, a role that saw her becoming a student activist, enabling her to rise as a student leader. Since then she has held various leadership positions in the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and the South African Students Congress (SASCO). In 2014, she was elected Deputy Secretary-General of Unisa’s National Students’ Representative Council (NSRC), making her the only female student leader in a structure dominated by nine males. While studying towards her Honours in Integrated Organisational Communication, which she finished in 2016, she had to move from Clermont to Pretoria in order to represent students. Asked how she overcame all these challenges, she invokes the famous words of world-famous Unisa alumnus Nelson Mandela: “It looks impossible until it is done.” A tearful Nontsikelelo, overwhelmed by joy, says she is happy that she lived her dream and she now enjoys the fruits of her hard work. She is currently studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Administration, and she intends to start a communications company. She works at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) as a media monitor.
Other NSRC/SRC members who graduated during their term of office
  • Dzimbanhete Muchengi (Bachelor of Laws)
  • Leonard Rorisang Lekhula (Bachelor of Arts in Government, Administration and Development)
  • Thembalethu Headman Madalan (National Diploma: Agricultural Management)
  • Johnny Oagiseng Bojang (National Diploma: Credit Management)
  • Simukai Murerwa (Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science)
  • Godfrey Stanley Namakhota (Bachelor of Arts: Health Sciences and Social Services) (Cum Laude)
  • Onalenna Tawana (Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science)
  • Tseke Ronald Mojapelo (Bachelor of Commerce in Business Informatics)
  • Siyabonga Masiza (National Diploma: Credit Management)
  • Tebogo Alex Tefu (National Diploma: Information Technology)
  • Mbalenhle Ngubane (Postgraduate Certificate in Education: Senior Phase and Further Education and Training)
  • Silinda Mbongiseni (National Diploma: Agricultural Management)
  • Given Shawe (National Diploma: Management)
  • Nkululeko Chilenje (Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science)
  • Nonhlanhla Khoza (National Diploma: Human Resource Management
Source: Unisa