Student skips graduation to join #Walk4Access initiative

Posted on April 05, 2019

Historical debt is an issue close to Mathias Shunmugam’s heart. The SRC member and Assistant Lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Religion skipped his graduation ceremony on 3 April to join the #Walk4Access initiative. The campaign, which was established by Elim Full Gospel Church and UP students, plans to raise funds to offset historical debt, thus enabling students to complete their degrees.

Mathias joined the cause because he himself – at the start of the year – had historical debt and was told he would only receive a transcript at his graduation. That turn of events did not sit well with him, so he sacrificed his graduation and put a lot of energy into raising funds to cover his debt and register for a master’s degree.

The activist says he still has vivid memories of being placed on academic probation during his first year of study. The fear that he would be excluded, or not be allowed to study at the University, became real during that period. “Being an alumni now, reflecting on my academic probation I feel honoured and proud of the fact that I was able to persevere through and be successful. To me it shows that with hard work and dedication, there is literally nothing that I cannot achieve,” he adds.

- Author Xolani Mathibela

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