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Monday, July 15, 2024

Young African man who worked as security guard to pay his school fees finally graduates, bags degree in Chemical Engineering

A determined young African man named Fabrice Kapya who previously worked as a car guard to sponsor his education has achieved remarkable successes he finally earns degree in Chemical Engineeering at the University of Pretoria.

Fabrice obtained his first degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Likasi South Africa. When his father died, he struggled to pay for his studies according to the university’s website.

“After my father’s death, we lost practically everything. His family took everything from us, but through the generosity of friends who volunteered to finance my studies, I obtained this degree,” he said.

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He stated that he arrived in South Africa with no resources and no job but with a determination to further his studies. He began working as a car guard at Wonderpark Mall, South Africa where he made about R2 000 ($104) per month.

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“For that, I had to stand in the parking lot every day from 7 am to 8 pm. I had about R900 to R1 000 left a month after covering all expenses such as rent and groceries,” he said.

Fabrice said in August 2018, a friend convinced him to continue his studies and applied on his behalf to the University of Pretoria even when he was trying to apply to Tshwane University of Technology.

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“The circumstances around that admission are still a miracle to me. I was returning from the Tshwane University of Technology after submitting my application when a friend who was studying at UP at the time asked me to stop by the University,” Fabrice said.

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”After a long discussion, she convinced me to apply to UP. But there were only two days left before international applications closed, and at most universities, priority is usually given to those who apply,” he added.

Fabrice said that he thought he had no chance of being accepted, yet to his surprise, in November 2018, Kapya was admitted to Industrial and Systems Engineering.

He mentioned that when he started his course in March 2019, he was still working as a car guard and she also had difficulties navigating the language barrier and had no background in industrial engineering.

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However, with the help of his classmates who helped with food, rent and also class notes, he was able to survive. “While I was doing my honours modules, my classmates gave me food, paid for my transport or paid my rent, and assisted me with their notes,” he said.

Fabrice said he used every penny he made to sponsor his needs at school He mentioned that he would read for his examinations in the car park while working but despite all of the challenges, he remained focused.

I used every single coin I earned at Wonderpark Mall to pay for my studies. I was studying in the parking lot with my student card around my neck. I stayed strong even though I could not feel my legs or my waist, even though my body was sore,” Fabrice said

”When I had a block week, I wouldn’t go to the mall; it cost me R240 a week to get to UP, and not working that week put me in a position where I was almost R740 short. As a result, I had difficulty depositing the R1 000 I had planned to pay each month into my student account to reduce my debt,” he added.

In 2019, he had the good fortune of encountering a generous donor who parked by his side and the individual offered him a cash prize to support his studies. With this financial assistance, he was able to settle all his outstanding debts and in July 2020, he completed his honours degree.

In 2021, he was accepted for a master’s programme in Industrial Systems at the University of Pretoria and the university offered him a position as an assistant lecturer in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

He is currently a PhD candidate in Industrial Engineering and a Lecturer at the University of Pretoria. Fabrice stated that he is excited about his achievements as he is the first in his family to earn a master’s and honors degree.

Fabrice said he hopes to one day open an NGO to help young people who have gone through difficult times.  “I would like to sponsor their education and allow them to reach their goal.” And that’s not all,” he said.

“My second plan is to fight against segregation. We need to change the way we talk about people. We should stop judging people by their tribe, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or skin colour.”

 

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