All the feels! Kind stranger becomes UJ graduate's 'village' for a day

04 April 2019 - 07:32 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Mthobisi Magagula graduated with a B.Ed foundation phase degree from the University of Johannesburg on Monday.
Mthobisi Magagula graduated with a B.Ed foundation phase degree from the University of Johannesburg on Monday.
Image: Twitter/Mthobisi Magagula

“Twitter is a platform that can be used to do good and I figured I could make a difference in someone's life."

This was said by Ntokozo Khanyile when she explained her offer to be a stranger's "village" on his graduation day. 

Mthobisi Magagula, 25, graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a B.Ed foundation phase degree on Monday. But he had no one to cheer for him on his big day.

Days before the ceremony, Magagula took to Twitter to share that he would be celebrating his big day alone. Although they were not following one another at the time, the tweet somehow landed on Khanyile's timeline and she knew she needed to be there for him.

Khanyile told TimesLIVE that although Magagula was a stranger when they first spoke, she could not disappoint him. "I know he worked hard to finish his degree and it would have been a slap on the face if I dropped him without celebrating such a big achievement. I made a promise to be his 'village'."

Mpumalanga-born Magagula Mthobisi, born in Mpumalanga, lost both his parents as a child, a tragedy which saw his grandmother assume the role of parent to parenting him and his three younger siblings. He said as the eldest of the four, and a recent graduate, he was now already well on his way to becoming the family’s breadwinner.

"People kept asking if my grandmother was coming. I told them she was among the crowd, knowing very well she was not.”

His gran was too elderly to travel and his siblings too young to make the journey, leaving Magagula to graduate alone.

"I didn't think she (Khanyile) would come. But she was there and she cheered for me. She took me out for lunch afterwards."

Khanyile said she would never forget the look on his face. 

"He was so happy, I could see it and his face just lit up the first time we had a conversation before the ceremony. I don’t think I would have been able to continue with life as normal if I had disappointed him on such a big day.”


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