Against all odds: Student born without arms graduates with cum laude

Kgosatsana Sithole at her graduation. Picture: Supplied

Kgosatsana Sithole at her graduation. Picture: Supplied

Published May 14, 2024


Kgosatsana Sithole, who was born with phocomelia, an uncommon disorder marked by shortened or absent upper or lower limbs, has achieved an extraordinary feat by earning a Bachelor of Social Science degree with cum laude.

The 23-year-old born, who hails from Esikhawini, received a standing ovation from fellow graduates, academics, and guests at the UKZN graduation ceremony on Monday.

Sithole is one of 100 graduates with disabilities graduating from UKZN’s autumn graduation, which ends on Tuesday.

“Being the only one different in the class posed its challenges, but I had to embrace confidence in my uniqueness and remain steadfast in my purpose,” said Sithole.

Throughout her academic career, she overcame obstacles by pro-actively revealing her limitations to her professors at the start of each semester.

Her proud mother, Nonkululeko Sithole, burst into tears as she witnessed her daughter’s graduation. She raced to embrace her after seeing the triumphant moment.

Kgosatsana Sithole with her mother at her graduation. Picture: Supplied

“Kgosatsana accomplished the seemingly impossible by earning her degree cum laude and in record time. Despite the physical strain on her back - pursuing her studies caused - she remained resolute and focused. Our family is immensely proud of her,” said her mother.

Commenting on her accomplishment, Kgosatsana expressed gratitude for the accolade showered upon her. She praised her family's unwavering support and her religion, underlining that her triumph, “would not have been possible without her Lord and Saviour.”

Sithole’s future plans include studying film and television in order to produce African-centric narratives on politics and crime.

With her determination and resilience, she will undoubtedly continue to defy expectations and inspire greatness along the way.

IOL News

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