News / South Africa

Pulane Choane
2 minute read
9 Mar 2019
6:30 am

First year student, 79, proves there’s no limit to learning

Pulane Choane

'Age is truly just a number and we all have a role to play in making South Africa better – young and old,' says Jacob Seboko.

Jacob Seboko, 79, who is doing the first year of his BA degree in education at North West University’s Vaal campus. Picture: Twitter NWU

A 79-year-old who is doing the first year of his BA degree in education at North West University’s Vaal campus is proving that you’re never too old to learn something new.

Jacob Seboko’s wife Wilhemina died more than nine years ago, but he has found a new love in education and studying, which keeps his mind busy and helps keep loneliness at bay.

While many people don’t understand his decision, Seboko believes he continues to have a lot to offer, owing to his experience and formal teaching qualifications.

He wants to contribute positively to his community and motivate the youth to value education.

An elderly student among a class comprising people mostly 60 years his junior, Seboko laughs and says although he is committed to making a success of this new chapter in his life, it does sometimes feel strange.

Despite that, he values the experience because he learns from his younger classmates, just as they learn from him.

He adds they help him understand certain concepts, such as technology and the internet, while he helps them understand the working world, which they would otherwise probably have grasped only later in life.

He has enjoyed the attention from the media but now wants to focus on his upcoming test week.

Seboko completed secondary school via a Damelin correspondence course and worked at Rand Water in Vereeniging, south of Gauteng, before getting a government job. In 1996, he obtained a BA degree in public administration and management from the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education in Vanderbijlpark.

In 2002, he retired from his job, but not from his passion for learning, going on to complete a diploma in adult basic education and training (Abet) from the University of South Africa (Unisa).

“Since obtaining that diploma, he enjoyed a 10-year stint as a part-time Abet [teacher],” Annette Willemse, from the NWU’s Vaal campus told OFM News.

Willemse said lecturers told her Seboko is a pleasure to have in class as he brought a new dynamic in the learning environment.

“He is always on time, always prepared and likes to interact with lecturers and classmates during contact sessions,” Willemse said.

She says Seboko is adamant he will play a role in educating the youth.

“He is especially focused on subjects such as accounting, economics, and business studies.”

Advice he offers to other pensioners with dreams of pursuing their studies is to never give up, nor be discouraged because of their age.

“You are not defined by your age! Age is truly just a number and we all have a role to play in making South Africa better – young and old,” he says.

OFM News

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