Meet the Woman Who Beat the Odds - Palesa Mofokeng

10 May 2017

Education is your ticket into a world that gives you access to more opportunities, financial stability, and a better life for you and your family. It is the very cornerstone of improving your life. Unfortunately not everyone has access to education.

This could have been the truth for Palesa Mofokeng (32). Palesa faced her obstacles head on and overcame many personal challenges to achieve her qualification in Human Resources Management and Practices. Read her story and let it inspire you to take your next step forward.

Humble beginnings
Born and raised by her grandmother while her mother sought employment as a domestic worker in Johannesburg, Palesa grew up in the small, rural village of Longaneng, North West Province. Her mother wasn’t always able to send enough money and her grandmother struggled to get her pension, which meant that Palesa often went to bed hungry.

Palesa attended her village primary and middle schools, but had to enrol in a high school at another village as there wasn’t one in her own. Even though it meant walking long distances, she persevered, saying that “Even though life began to get tougher because I was walking long distances without money for food, I kept going.”

Looking for her opportunity
Her dedication paid off, and having matriculated in 2001, she went straight to Johannesburg, eager to find employment and pursue further studies. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the finances to study and instead worked as a cleaner for the next five years. She also endured two years of unemployment.

“I had hit a dark point in my life and I used to cry the whole night through, because I couldn’t see a way out.” In 2010, after she had seen an advert for a human resources course, Palesa approached her mother for financial help, and together they agreed that the course was affordable for them and that she should register straight away.

Studying hard, going the distance
Through the support of her mother and her loving partner, Palesa pursued her studies full-time, paid her tuition fees, and handled her responsibilities as a mother of two precious children. A tremendously sad time in her life was when her uncle passed away and she had to choose to miss the funeral in order to pass her examinations. She continued to push herself past the hurt and into her future.

According to her lecturer, Palesa was determined to succeed. “She would call in when she needed academic assistance, making sure that she achieved her qualification. When other students gave up, she persevered. She had a dream and worked hard and long to achieve it. Palesa taught me that when you can’t change your circumstances, you are challenged to change yourself. She is an inspiration to many.”

Her commitment paid off and Palesa passed her exams, taking the next big step towards achieving her goals.

The future is bright
Looking back to those nights when she went to bed on an empty stomach, Palesa now realises that those circumstances motivated her to keep going. She summed up her attitude with “when life throws you lemons, make lemonade out of them – that’s what I did”.

Palesa cites the IQ Academy staff for providing her with the guidance and support that she needed, saying, “The tutors treated me as though I was their only student, believing in me and handling my needs with love, respect, and warmth throughout the programme.”

As the only member of her family to achieve this level of education, Palesa is humbled and grateful to be an inspiration to her children, and looks forward to continuing to work hard so that she can take them with her to the next stage of her journey.

Stories like this and women like Palesa show us that anything is possible when you make the decision to stand for what you believe and take the leap to achieve your goals. She joins the ranks of strong women who inspire others to go the distance and reach for their dreams, and she doesn’t have to be the only one. Our next story could feature you.

Author: Blackbird Copy