From domestic worker to law graduate: 'I had to do what I had to do to get money'

08 January 2019 - 11:18 By Naledi Shange
Barbra Gurupira after her graduation ceremony, where she obtained her LLB degree.
Barbra Gurupira after her graduation ceremony, where she obtained her LLB degree.
Image: Supplied / Barbra Gurupira

The story of Barbra Gurupira and her husband is one of resilience and hope.

Gurupira worked as a domestic worker in Cape Town to get herself through law school, while her husband, now a qualified accountant, took on gardening jobs to obtain his accounting qualification.

Gurupira’s husband has landed himself a job in Dubai, but she is patiently waiting for her fortune to change and still works as a contract domestic worker.

“After my exams, I didn’t have anything else to do [and, just like before], I wasn’t in a position to be choosy. I had to do what I had to do to get money,” said Gurupira, who registered with online cleaning agency Sweepsouth.

Before joining Sweepsouth, Gurupira was a roaming domestic worker.

In October 2018, she obtained her LLB degree from the University of South Africa (Unisa).

Gurupira told TimesLIVE it was a proud moment. She had given up a social life and left her home country, Zimbabwe, to come to South Africa to obtain her degree.

In a brief discussion with a Western Cape couple who contracted her services via Sweepsouth last week, Gurupira told them she had recently obtained her degree and was now looking for a law firm that would accept her for articles.

The couple has since embarked on a mission to help  her, even posting a shout-out on social media to seek assistance for Gurupira.

“She’s a disciplined hard worker. After all, you don’t work AND study this hard if you're not,” actor Tim Theron said of Gurupira on Facebook.

Within hours, scores of people had responded, tagging law firms and lawyers they knew.  Others requested Gurupira’s CV.  

“I didn’t expect it at all. I feel happy and excited,” she said, adding that she was optimistic that her fortune was about to change.

Gurupira has since sent her CV to several companies and is in talks with at least one law firm.


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