A father of three and grandfather to one, Alfred Mabaso, 53, is gushing with pride after he achieved his long-standing dream of passing matric.
Mabaso, who is a senior shift worker at Emfuleni Local Municipality's Water Unit, Metsi-A-Lekoa in Vanderbijlpark, could not contain his excitement when he was presented with his matric certificate last November (2014) by the Member of the Mayoral Committee, Khethiwe Ntombela, after he wrote and passed his Adult Literacy Matric examination.
"I'm so excited! I'm over the moon!" he remarked.
He may not have passed with distinctions, but what makes his feat remarkable is that he has achieved it at 53 and has pulled himself up by his bootstraps, juggling his lessons with his work as a shift worker.
"I have always cherished the dream of acquiring my matric certificate," he said from Metsi-a-Lekoa, where he was hard at work. Mabaso left school in 1977 when he was in Std 7 after his father died. "I had to drop out because my mother did not have money for me to study further," he recalled.
Mabaso moved to Gauteng from the KwaZulu-Natal in 1976, finding general work to keep poverty at bay. He said he enrolled for adult literacy course in 2007 and from then he never looked back. "I decided to make the most of the chance and finally determination has paid off. To me this is like a belated Christmas present," he said.
Mabaso heaped praise on his employer, Emfuleni Local Municipality, for affording him a lifetime opportunity. "I am so proud of Emfuleni because they made my wish a reality. I had resigned myself not achieving this feat but now I am fulfilled," he said almost tearfully. He threw down the gauntlet to other fellow employees to follow suit. "I want to tell my colleagues that no matter how old you are you can still achieve your dreams."
Equally excited at Mabaso's achievement was Khethiwe Ntombela, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Corporate Services. She spoke in glowing terms of his determination. "He is a strong man who is focused and always strives to achieve something” she said.
By Stanley Gaba