Ukwazi Ukuzimela Awards | iQ Academy

Ukwazi Ukuzimela Award winners inspire us to stand strong

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Meet our 2020 Ukwazi Ukuzimela Award winners

At iQ Academy, we celebrate and reward our students’ journey towards success, and are therefore proud to announce the winners of our Ukwazi Ukuzimela Share Your Story competition. This competition is aimed at encouraging our students to share their stories of how they stood strong amidst trying circumstances and how they kept motivated to achieve their career and study goals.

Winners of the competition are usually announced during our annual Higher Certificate Graduation ceremony, however, the 2020 Graduation ceremony was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown. We still wanted to ensure that our winners received the recognition and celebration that is due so we’re announcing our winners online. Each winner will be awarded a cash prize for their achievement. Join us in congratulating our winning 2020 graduates:

  • Winner: Marara Raphadu: Higher Certificate in Business Management
  • Runner up: Sharon Nyoni: Higher Certificate in Business Management
  • Runner up: Ziyanda Sentiwe: Higher Certificate in Human Resources Management

We asked each of our graduates to share some inspiration that could help fellow students stay motivated and focused on their studies. Read about their journey and find inspiration in what they had to share:

Marara Raphadu – Never stop learning.

“I want to encourage other students to never give up on something you really want and to just go for it. Never stop educating yourself. The reward, in the end, is worth it.”

Marara Raphadu Ukwazi Ukuzimela Award Winner

Marara’s study journey exemplifies what it means to stand strong to gain your independence. During her study journey, she endured many challenges that included losing her job, battling financially, raising her daughter single-handedly and struggling with depression. Yet she never gave up and chose to rise again, resume her studies and started her own catering company. Today, she is a graduate, an example of tenacity and courage and a worthy winner of this award. Read more on her journey here

Sharon Nyoni – Keep your eye on the end goal.

“Work extra hard in order to graduate. Keep your eyes on the goal of obtaining an education. Everything else is irrelevant. I am forever grateful for this opportunity.”

Sharon NyoniUkwazi Ukuzimela Award Runner Up

Sharon Nyoni is a business owner, single mom and iQ Graduate. Her study journey began when her friend needed a study buddy, so Sharon jumped at the chance to better her life. Although her friend didn’t continue with her studies, Sharon decided not to quit. Instead, she worked long hours to ensure that her business succeeded so that she could pay for her studies. Time management became essential, and she had to stick to a schedule so she could work long-hour days with little sleep, and balance study and home commitments. She was exhausted but more determined than ever to succeed. She even had a nail-biting rush to submit an assignment before the deadline, by driving out to McDonald’s in the middle of the night – but unfortunately, she forgot to press the “send’ button, so it was not submitted in time. Amidst all the disappointment, she kept focused, stuck to her schedule and finished her studies strong.


Ziyanda Sentiwe – Don’t allow your situation to determine your future.

“Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, because where there’s a will, there is always a way. And never allow your situation to determine your future.”

Ziyanda SentiweUkwazi Ukuzimela Award Runner Up

Ziyanda Sentiwe was determined to graduate regardless of her difficult circumstances. As a single mom, she supported her unemployed elderly parents whilst working as a casual, and desperately wanted to create a better future for herself and her children. Failure was not an option.  To her, education was a means through which she could improve her situation. She decided to prioritise her studies, which meant going out less with her friends and reduced her spending. Even though she nearly did not get to write one of her exams because she couldn’t get off work, she decided to rather skip work and write her exam regardless. She overcame many other challenges including battling exhaustion and financial strain, yet she persevered and was able to graduate.

We wish our winners every success for their future as they continue to set goals towards creating a brighter future for themselves.