By Jonk wa Mashamba
Prayer Rikhotso, originally from Muchipisi in Malamulele, is now a Credit Risk Specialist at Absa Group Limited after a rough journey flooded with unbearable destitution!
After his graduation recently, Rikhotso said adversity made some men to break, but “some of us broke records!
“Making history and shifting the paradigm is what we are here for… history was made today”.
He said he was emotionally overwhelmed when en route to the 1st ever Master’s graduation in his family history.
He drove past the traffic light where he used to sell raw corn to motorists to get food on the table when his mom and other siblings were selling fire-roasted corn in JHB CBD.
“Needless to say that some days I could stand all day and only return home with R4 (i.e., when a compassionate motorist gave me R2.50 tip after buying one corn as it was selling for R1.50 by then – that was a lot of money to me and my family back in the year 2004).
“The GPS’s optimal route took me via Devland area in Soweto, which used to be City’s garbage site where I used to eat food from the trash bins dumped by (Pick It Up) refuse trucks, especially when the corn stock was spoilt and we didn’t have stock for days.
“To cut to the chase, I lived-off the spoilt perishables like tin fish/beans/canned food we collected from the trash bins and wore clothes from the garbage bins which my mom washed them clean and ironed with fire iron [we didn’t have electronic one] to get through my high school days.
“It was at this point that I vowed to myself that I will work very hard and leave no stone unturned to overturn the fortunes and level the odds for my family so that my kids will never eat from the trash bins ever!”
Prayer, who used to lead the youth at Bethesda Christian Church under Bishop Elijah Mtilen, said when he learnt about universities nearby, he immediately resolved in his heart that he would study hard and attain the highest level of qualifications possibly attainable.
He said he was determined to rewrite the history of his family.
“Today’s achievement marks a significant milestone that was 20 years in the making! For this reason, I had to overcome insurmountable odds en route to making this day a reality. So, it is such a big deal and it will definitely go down as an unforgettable monumental victory in the history books!
“I had to break composure and immerse myself in this once in a lifetime moment of celebratory reflection.
“Again, this video is very symbolic of the insurmountable odds that I overcame on route to earning the 1st Ever Master’s, with many extraordinary things happening to me and around me.
“Needless to say that I felt like giving up many times, but today I’m glad God gave me strength to keep pushing the ultimate goal I set for myself 20 years ago.
“I had to stay focused on my craft and undergo a massive transformation to unleash the best version of myself amidst the distractions that came my way!
“The two left-footed dancer now officially has a Master’s Degree In Financial Economics!
“The focus symbolized by minding my own business and dancing to my own tunes till the end is exactly the method that has helped me stay the course and reach the finish line today!
“Thanks to Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Dell Young Leaders.