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24 March 2018
Picking the right crew proves a recipe for success
When Thulani Mkosi joined UWC in 2014, he was more interested in playing football than excelling at his studies. Four years later, with the support and motivation of the University community, Mkosi joins thousands of other students to be capped at the first 2018 graduation ceremony in April.

“I was initially more excited about playing soccer than doing well academically. I had followed Varsity Football (the premier university football competition in South Africa) in 2013 and wanted to be part of it,” Mkosi recalls. “So first year was essentially seeing whether or not I could find the needed balance to juggle studies and football.”

Mkosi, who hails from East London in the Eastern Cape, found support and encouragement from many people on campus and that motivated him in the classroom.

He completed his BEd majoring in English and social sciences last year, and is currently teaching English at Oude Molen Academy of Science and Technology while working as a writer for Varsity Sports, reporting on UWC's Varsity Shield home matches.

Mkosi excelled on the football pitch too. He was part of the University’s football team that won the Varsity Football Cup in 2015, was named the competition’s Player of the Tournament a year later, and was the captain of the UWC side last year – achievements he lists among his high moments on campus.

Reflecting on his journey, Mkosi says, “The biggest lesson for me at university has been that nobody owes you anything. It's about taking initiative and getting things done, no excuses. It was important for me to build relationships with the academic staff so that they could be more accommodating of my sports commitments.” 

Mkosi is grateful to all who supported him, but singles out his friend, mentor, former teammate and later soccer coach Lwando Mdleleni, who obtained his doctorate last year. “I always say, if your friends don't inspire you to achieve your goals, you're with the wrong crew.” ‚Äč