Jan 27, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

‘My footsteps may be slow but I will get there’

Paralyzed by a bullet during an armed robbery, a man from the Eastern Cape graduated from the University of Fort Hare (UFH) exactly 14 years later.

Fikile Ngcani from Comfimvaba matriculated in 2013 at age aged 31.

He was shot in the head during an armed robbery in Johannesburg on May 18, 2008. The gunshots left the 40-year-old paralyzed on the right side of his body, damaging his bladder and causing damage to his bladder and speech impediment.

“I went to the local shop to buy airtime. As I was about to enter the store, I heard shots and orders to lie on the floor, which I did. I was shot while lying face down on the ground,” he said.

After recovering in hospital for three months, he decided to move back to the Eastern Cape.

“I lived with my grandmother who had no income. We only had one meal a day and there was no money for transportation to physical therapy. I became hopeless,” he said.

He wasn’t ready to give up, however. “I dropped out of school in 11th grade. I knew it would be difficult to get back into the school system, but I was determined.”

Fortunately, he was accepted into a local school where he was placed at the age of 28 in the 10th grade. Class. “My high school bachelor’s pass was my ticket to the university,” he said.

Ngcani applied to the UFH and initially studied business administration and work psychology (BCom).


In 2016, in the second year of his BCom studies, Prof. Willie Chinyamerindi nominated Ngcani for an essay writing competition.

His essay, My steps may be slow, but I will make it there, earned him the first prize of R40,000.

Ngcani enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2019. With only one hand to write, he managed to complete his studies in the prescribed manner in three years.

“My current goal is to earn an honors degree. However, I have to pay off my student debt first. I’m hoping for financial support to achieve my goal.

“Only now do I realize how far I’ve come since the day of shooting. I’ve faced so many obstacles, but I never gave up,” Ngcani said.

He needs to secure employment as he relies on his disability allowance.

Support independent journalism by subscribing to The Sunday Times. Only 20 R for the first month.