Paralysing stroke didn't stop UKZN student from graduating

30 May 2020 - 09:00 By NIVASHNI NAIR
Nokubonga Sithole suffered a stroke in 2018. The left side of her body was paralysed.
Nokubonga Sithole suffered a stroke in 2018. The left side of her body was paralysed.
Image: supplied

Just five months after suffering a stroke, which paralysed the left side of her body, Nokubonga Sithole was back at university and went on to complete her studies.

Sithole graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Friday afternoon.

It was the university's first ever virtual graduation, which was broadcast on SABC3.

Sithole was admitted to hospital after the stroke in October 2018, received treatment and was discharged to begin her recovery at home.

Despite limited movement on her left side, she resumed her studies in March 2019.

The university said with the help of friends, Sithole was able to attend lectures and tutorials.

“Sithole not only completed all nine modules but achieved outstanding results,” UKZN said.

Sithole said she had to push herself to graduate.

“It was physically, mentally and emotionally draining but I knew I would get through. I had to do it for my mother — she is a single parent with not much income, yet she provides for the family,” she said.

Sithole plans to do her honours in psychology and is confident she will recover from her stroke.

“I am going for physiotherapy and it is really helping. I know I will be back to my old self soon.”

Meanwhile UKZN conferred a total of 9,963 degree certificates, 6,505 of which were awarded to undergraduate recipients and 3,458 to postgraduates.

There were 414 Masters and 228 doctoral graduands.

Overall there are 104 summa cum laude and 270 cum laude graduands.

“As has been the trend in previous years, women graduands continue to excel with women making up 70 percent of the summa cum laude graduands and 67 percent of the cum laude graduands.”

“The university is especially proud of the achievements of 80 graduands with disabilities, 31 of whom have completed postgraduate studies. Two exceptional achievers will graduate with PhDs and six with Masters,” UKZN spokesperson Normah Zondo said.

There were 276 international graduands, 217 of whom graduated with postgraduate certificates.

“Overall, 1,609 degrees will be conferred in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, 5,087 in the College of Humanities, 2,254 in the College of Law and Management Studies, and 1,013 in the College of Health Sciences,” Zondo said.