92-year-old thanks God after seeing grandson become first graduate in family

Grandad James Mhlongo with his grandson, Bongani Mhlongo. | Mnqobi Ngobese.

Grandad James Mhlongo with his grandson, Bongani Mhlongo. | Mnqobi Ngobese.

Published May 15, 2024


Durban — It was a proud moment for a 92-year-old grandfather who witnessed his grandson become the first graduate in his family when he walked on the stage on Monday.

James Mhlongo, from Matshematshe in Msinga, northern KwaZulu-Natal, watched his grandson, Bongani Mhlongo, get his Diploma in Accounting at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) 2024 Autumn Graduation ceremony.

The ceremony was held at Indumiso campus in Pietermaritzburg.

Mhlongo got attention at the ceremony because, like the graduates, he was also clad in graduation attire and waited patiently to see his grandson walk the graduation stage.

He explained why he was dressed like the graduates, saying it was his way of showing respect to his grandson. He indicated that the graduation gown he was wearing was his which he had worn when he graduated from his church, the Ethopian Church in Zion, a few years ago.

Mhlongo thanked God for allowing him to witness this “historical” moment for his family.

“We are very proud of him. He is the first graduate in the family. I cried tears of joy when I saw him walking on the graduation stage. I am so happy that he didn’t forget our teachings when he got to DUT. He remained humble and as a result, he is being rewarded today. I wish him all the best, he is our hope,” Mhlongo said.

Bongani expressed his appreciation to his grandfather for making his graduation extra special. He thanked his family for their continuous support and for sharing his special day with him.

“My wish is to get a job so I can build a better home for my family. This qualification is a sign of good things to come for my family. Education is our only hope out of poverty,” Bongani said.

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