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Londiwe Xulu
3 minute read
16 May 2022

Emotional UKZN graduate’s viral video leads to job offer

Londiwe Xulu

Overjoyed University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) graduate, Dumisani Ngobese (23) said he did not expect to get a job soon after his graduation.

Overjoyed University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) graduate, Dumisani Ngobese (23) said he did not expect to get a job soon after his graduation.

Ngobese, from a rural area outside Empangeni, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree on Friday and sealed a deal for a permanent job at the Calvin and Family Group less than 24 hours later.

Ngobese’s emotional graduation trended on social media where he was photographed crying as he walked across the stage to receive his degree. Durban businessman, Calvin Mathibeli (34), who owns the Calvin and Family Group, is among those who were touched by Ngobese’s story and he reached out to Ngobese with a job offer.

Ngobese said he was overwhelmed as he did not expect to receive such an opportunity so soon. He said he was happy to receive the job offer and would start working on Monday.

Ngobese was raised by his maternal grandmother who was a street vendor and a sole breadwinner in a household with over 10 children.

Ngobese said: 

“I have been praying for this moment for a long time. My family, especially my grandmother, are also happy that I have now been offered a job.”

He said he had not been applying for jobs and was waiting to receive his degree to start applying.

He is currently doing his honours degree at UKZN and said his plan was to focus on his job as well as his studies.

“It’s very unusual for one to get a job straight after graduating. I really did not expect to be so lucky and I’m grateful. I was planning on furthering my studies while I look for a job, but now that the opportunity has presented itself, I will continue to work hard in my studies and work,” said Ngobese.

Ngobese, who was in tears during the graduation ceremony, said unlike his peers, he could not afford a suit for the special occasion. He wore a black golf t-shirt, black chino pants and white sneakers.

A number of social media users congratulated him, while others made monetary pledges.

Among those was Mathibeli. He said Ngobese would be working in the office of the chairman.

“I created a position in my office where he will be working close to me in [the] form of mentorship,” he said.

He said he saw Ngobese’s pictures being shared on social media and went to the UKZN’s pages to read the full story about him. He said coming from a similar background as Ngobese, he was touched by how Ngobese was able to overcome all the challenges around him.

Mathibeli said:

“This shows that he’s strong and resilient. His character alone made me have an interest in helping him. Some people want sympathy but when I spoke to him, I learnt he didn’t want that, but is self-driven regardless of circumstances around him.”

He added he also considered his age stating that most youngsters born in the 90s and 2000s were a ‘confused generation’.

“Someone as young him with such a character needs our support. I always assist people when I see potential because I believe in raw talent,” said Mathibeli. 

Speaking about his background, Mathibeli said he grew up without a father and could have used that as an excuse but instead it motivated him. 

“From the age of 17, I started selling starter-packs on the road so I could pay my school fees and accommodation at the Durban University of Technology. 

“I know the hardship of being a student, going to bed without knowing where the next meal will come from. This boy has been going through the same things but became resilient and have come this far,” Mathibeli said. 

He added they have also given Ngobese a bursary for his honours degree. He said since he was attending online, he would be given time to attend his classes while at work.