17 May 2022
Ayanda Matshalilanga, a General Worker at MISA, the Motor Industry Staff Association, achieved his childhood dream of obtaining an LLB-degree thanks to the Union who believed in him.
“When I heard that MISA will fund my studies, it was the happiest day in my life. From then onwards I could only focus on my studies at the University of South Africa (Unisa) and no longer had to stress about where I was going to get the money from.”
Matshalilanga (42) is one of five siblings. He is the first person in his family and in the very poor rural community in the Eastern Cape, where he grew up, to obtain a degree.
“My parents and grandparents always believed in me. It is sad that they are no longer with us to share in my achievement, but I know that they are looking from Heaven.”
Growing-up Matshalilanga wanted to become a lawyer. Reality struck after he completed his matric. His parents did not have the funds to allow him to study and he had to relocate to Johannesburg to get a job.
His first job was as a security guard in Melrose Arch. The security firm posted him at one of MISA’s buildings in Johannesburg.
He saw MISA advertising a position for a General Worker, applied and got the job.
In 2008, Matshalilanga first studied tourism, but could not complete his studies. “My family back home, was struggling. My father had just passed away and I was the only breadwinner. I had to send money back home to support them.”
“I still had this dream and desire and applied to Unisa to do a diploma in law in 2012.”
Matshalilanga was painting the house of Hermann Köstens, MISA’s Chief Executive Officer: Strategy and Development, and they got talking about his ambitions. “He was shocked to learn that I was busy studying law.”
Köstens told Martlé Keyter, MISA’s Chief Executive Officer: Operations and they decided that the Union would fund Matshalinga’s studies. The rest is history.
“I will forever be grateful to MISA. The two CEO’s believed in me against all odds.”
Matshalilanga is still busy with his duties as a General Worker, but started with his practical training in MISA’s Legal Department to gain experience. “It is very exciting. I want to specialise in Labour Law.”
His advice to others is to never give up on a dream. “Poverty should not stand in your way. Where there is a will, there is a way.”
Issued on behalf of MISA by Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Specialist.
For MISA Press Releases, phone Carstens on 082 463 6806 or email Sonja.Carstens@ms.org.za.