A full-time office administrator and mother successfully earns her degree after five long years

After registering for a Bachelor of Arts degree in law in 2018, Ethel Thale did not anticipate that her life will drastically change, making it difficult for her to pursue her studies. 

While studying, Thale became a wife and a mother — thereafter, she had to deal with the realities of juggling parenthood and being a wife while studying part-time.  

However, her new titles did not diminish her hunger to pursue her dream of “fighting for the vulnerable”, which she believes her law degree will allow her to do.  

She said time management was the greatest challenge for her, and also her greatest lesson.  

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela after being conferred, she said: “finally”, after graduating on record time despite all the challenges she faced.  She added that: “As a part time student, it is easy to give up because you are already employed, so to someone else, it would be like what is the point?”  

Ethel Thale (centre) with her mother Nomsa Sebopha and her husband Kagiso Thale outside the Wits University great hall. Ethel graduated BA with a law major, after 5 years as a part-time student. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya.

Thale told Wits Vuvuzela that she constantly had to remind herself to finish what she started and remember what her goal was — which helped her when she was full of self-doubt, and she was beginning to lose momentum.  

She explained that she is proud of herself for not giving up and thanked her husband and mother for being patient and assisting her when she could not do certain things. She also thanked her employer, Nedbank, who funded her studies – and created a working environment that allowed her to study. 

She said now she will focus on ushering in her second baby, then after, she will register for her postgraduate degree in law. Her plan is to work in legal compliance.   

Thale graduated in early April, and she said after completing her first degree, she feels empowered to pursue her second degree because she knows better now, especially when it comes to managing time.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Ethel Thale is awarded her bachelor of arts with law degree at Wits University in April 2023. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya.