One of the big bosses at work came through reception on his way out at the end of the day, and saw me reading a textbook and making notes. He was in a rush, but he stopped to ask me what I was doing.
I explained that I was working on an assignment because I was studying through correspondence at Unisa. He looked surprised and kept asking questions: “What are you studying for?” and “Why are you studying?” He then left for the parking lot, but he came back soon afterwards and told me how much he admired my efforts and that I should keep on going.
That meant so much to me — he saw me as more than just the security guard at reception. He saw how much potential I had, and how much I believed in my dreams.
I’ve always loved learning. When I was in high school in the rural areas, I wore a full suit and tie to class everyday. I always did my homework and was the neatest learner. If my family had had the funds to help me further my education then I would have been a principal by now.
Not having a tertiary education stopped me from doing so many things, but time and age are not factors for me; I will catch up and progress.
I started studying in 2012 but I had to stop for two years because I couldn’t afford to pay for the modules. But I’m going to be a teacher one day and I’m going to keep educating myself for the rest of my life.
I truly believe that my life’s purpose is to give knowledge to young people, so it’s important to me to achieve this goal. — David Matlou (49), as told to Mashadi Kekana