‘I came, I worked, and I learned not to let things get to me’

Posted on November 22, 2019

After 37 years of continuous service, one of the Engineering, Built Environment and IT Faculty staffers will hang up his uniform for the last time on November 30.

Erasford Seroka, who works in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering as a messenger, said he remembers when he first started working at the University, in February of 1982.

“I came here looking for a job, I knew I was good with my hands. After having worked in the garage at Transnet, I knew that I could do almost anything. I was a strong young man too,” Seroka said.

He explained that at the time, the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department had just split from the Mechanical Engineering Department, and many people that had his job before him failed to rise to the occasion.

“I was told that many other people had left this job because it was quite challenging. I was asked if I would cope, and my answer was that I honestly was not sure. What I knew was that I would give it my best shot because I wanted this job,” Seroka said.

What is even more interesting about his time at the University is that Seroka has not missed a single day of work because he was off sick. He credits this to his healthy lifestyle and the fact that he is a devout Zion Christian Church (ZCC) member.

“My workday starts very early each day, and it starts with prayer. When I get to work, I am usually one of the first people there. I make myself a cup of tea while I watch the University come to life.”

Seroka’s co-workers describe him as reliable, loyal and diligent. Everyone, students and staff alike, know that if you need assistance from him, he will give you a hand.

Departmental Administrator Anne-Marie Van Heerden – who is one of the people that work closely with Seroka – said theirs has been a pleasant working relationship, and she is particularly saddened to see him go.

“I have worked with Erasford since 2001. He is a kind person, and working with him has been beautiful. I was having a chat with our Head of Department, Professor Sarma Yadavalli, and we agreed that all of us have something we can learn from Erasford. I will miss him,” Van Heerden said.

One of the lessons Seroka said he learned on his journey was that patience and a positive attitude go a long way. “This is probably one of the reasons why I lasted this long at this job. I knew when I started here what it is that I want to do. So I came, and I worked. And I learnt not to let things get to me. If someone tries to start a fight with me or treats me in a way I do not like, I simply do not retaliate and I give it to God.”

With his well-earned retirement, Seroka intends to move back home to Ga-Moloi, a small village between Groblersdal and Polokwane in Limpopo Province. With his children having their own lives now, he feels it’s safe to leave them. One of his very first stops will be Moria (ZCC headquarters), in order for him to give thanks for a fulfilling career at the University of Pretoria.

- Author Masego Panyane

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