“If it weren’t for UWC, I wouldn't have been able to be where I am now.” LLB Graduate at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Asiphesona Cetywayo, credits his success to the institution he loves dearly. Cetywayo was admitted as an attorney to the South Gauteng High Court in February 2023.
Cetywayo was raised by his domestic worker grandmother and a grandfather with little formal education in Molteno in the Eastern Cape.
The 28-year-old started his academic journey at UWC in 2013. He was the first of his family to matriculate and later graduate in 2018.
His journey to higher education was marred with challenges. A young Cetywayo lived in a back room with his grandmother when she had to move to work for a family in Johannesburg.
“My grandmother raised me from a young age. I schooled in Joburg because she was a domestic worker; that paved the way in terms of my educational background and opened up my mind in a different way,” said Cetywayo.
Although his primary school years were spent in Joburg, his thirst for knowledge started in the small town of Molteno thanks to his grandfather’s passion for books, law and, more importantly, the Bill of Rights, which he introduced his grandson to from a young age.
“My grandfather instilled the discipline of education in me. He was a scholarly man and very inquisitive. He had this very small booklet which never made sense to me up until his passing. This booklet was the Bill of Rights. There is a section in the Bill of Rights that he taught me daily in my home language.”
His grandfather passed away in 2013 – the year he started university.
Like a large percentage of UWC students, Cetywayo was dependent on NSFAS. He felt compelled to volunteer on campus and received a stipend. He worked on the Access to Success Project, which involves raising funds for deserving ‘missing middle’ students who neither qualify for funding nor have bursaries to complete their studies.
Little did he know his volunteer efforts and networking at the HIV/AIDS Unit, Alumni Relations Office, and the Department for Student Development and Support would be the lifeline he needed when he was offered an interview to complete his articles in Johannesburg. But had no funds to get there.
“UWC played a major role. If they hadn’t assisted me, I would not have had the funds and would have had to forfeit the interview.”
Five years on, he works in a corporate space and believes it is only the start of a long and successful law career.
Cetywayo has called on UWC students who find themselves faced with the same challenges to persevere.
“It’s possible; it is absolutely possible. You just need to remind yourself why you are in this space and navigate the space. The choices you make will determine how you end up.”
UWC Alumni who wish to avail themselves to support the university through a variety of projects and initiatives aimed at impacting the lives of young alumni/recent grads are encouraged to contact the UWC Alumni Relations Office at email@example.com for more information.Two of the main fundraising events of the Access to Success campaign are the UWC Golf Days in Johannesburg on 22 August 2023 and Cape Town on 9 November 2023. For more information on buying a four-ball or to sponsor, contact Melissa Maans at firstname.lastname@example.org.