By Kaya 959 News
He went from helping people maneuver out of parking spaces to graduating with his degree in Masters of Business Management (MBA). And now, Patrice Niyonteze is ready to join the working world.
In an interview with the Sunday Independent, the Rwandan refugee said it was tough and there were times that he could afford textbooks but his colleagues helped him by sharing their online books and assisting him financially when they needed to attend extra lessons.
“Being a parking attendant can be demoralising. One moment you can be elated when a motorist gives you R20. The next moment you can be frustrated when you are given just 20 cents whilst expecting more, judging by the expensive car,” he said.
Niyonteze said some drivers ill-treat car guards and assume they will spend the money given to them on alcohol and drugs.
He said he persevered as he needed to complete his studies.
Focus on the future
Niyonteze enrolled at a tertiary institution in Rwanda but when the civil war broke out, he had to stop his studies and worked as a teacher.
Two years later, he started working as a human resources manager and later worked as a high school teacher. He also worked as a laboratory manager and he eventually left Rwanda in 2004.
When he got to South Africa, he enrolled for an MBA at a private tertiary institution and after years of hardship, he finally graduated.
Niyonteze said it was tough to introduce himself to his colleagues as they were all professionals.
“I reminded myself there is dignity in labour and before long, I had many friends,” he said.
He said he hopes to get a break and he will prove himself, adding that it will help him give his family a better life.
He encouraged the youth to focus on the future by studying.