Rising Above the Odds

COVID-19 dealt a heavy blow to Bachelor of Commerce in Information Systems and Technology graduate Ms Ntandokazi Buthelezi who lost her mother, grandmother and grandfather in 2020.

‘My academic journey was quite a battle as losing my family members one after the other resulted in a funeral every week in December,’ she said.

‘It was devastating! I am grateful to all my lecturers who supported me and made my academic life seamless. This graduation means the world to me because it is a statement to my guardian angels who are cheering me on and saying, “We did it”!’

Buthelezi served as the general secretary of Enactus UKZN. Her former role as the organisation’s Vice-President of Operations saw her champion COVID-19 projects that positively impacted more than 1 500 lives. This resulted in the organisation being recognised as the 2020 Enactus South Africa National Champion and being awarded for initiating one of the global top-14 innovative solutions in the Ford Fund COVID-19 Challenge. Buthelezi is involved in Women in Tech, an international organisation that aims to close the gender gap and empower women to embrace technology.

Buthelezi is thriving in the digital space as a digital solutions strategist at Asante Solutions.

‘I consider myself blessed because so many memorable things happened during my journey at UKZN which wouldn’t have happened in any other institution,’ she said.

‘I started a business with a friend of 12 years, which is now one of the best digital agencies in South Africa. I have grown over the years by balancing academics and entrepreneurship and I feel that I can conquer anything.’

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Abhi Indarajan