South African Man Who Works 12 Hours Night Shift as Petrol Attendant While in Law School, Now a Lawyer

Siphenkosi Nqoro, the second of five children born to unemployed parents graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the University of Fort Hare. The 30-year-old worked 12 hours night shift every night as a petrol pump attendant so he could pay for his four years LLB degree program.

“Law is something I have always wanted to do, and I promised myself that despite the odds, I’d always pursue my ambition” – those were the words of Siphenkosi Nqoro, a South African man who worked 12 hours night shift every day as a fuel pump attendant to fund his LLB degree at the University of Fort Hare.

He is the second of five children born to unemployed parents and after passing his matric, he decided to rather look for work instead of going to school. A determined person would always push through all obstacles in their life just to achieve every one of their goals.

After High School, Siphenkosi needed money to fund his studies. His parents were unemployed and couldn’t afford to pay his university fees to study Law, a dream he always wanted to fulfil. While looking for ways to fund his studies, Siphenkosi got a job to work as a full-time petrol pump attendant at Shell garage in Mdantsane, South Africa with the hope that he’d pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer someday.

“The situation at home required me to help out. My older sibling also did piece jobs. But during that time when I was not studying, I yearned for it. I always wanted to be a lawyer and my whole family knew that I was adamant to one day go to school,” he said.

Siphenkosi worked very hard, for months, before he could afford the money he needed to study Law. After days and days, months and months of hard work, in 2016 he got admitted as a Law student at the University of Fort Hare. But even though his admission was successful, there was still more work to be done for Siphenkosi. His admission was just a step of many more to come. He needed money to sustain his stay at the university, so he had to continue his petrol pump attendant job at Shell.

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“I knew would have to juggle my studies and work, so I had to talk to my supervisor. He was glad to hear that I’ll be attending university full-time, and he gave me permission to pursue the degree,” said Siphenkosi. As a full-time student and at the same time petrol pump attendant, Siphenkosi had to work 12 hours night shift before going to school (the university for lectures). But according to him, his co-workers at the Shell garage were “quite flexible.” “Sometimes I would approach my superiors and ask them to adapt my schedule, and they would do it gracefully,” he said.

A year after his enrollment at the university, things got bitter for Siphenkosi. He couldn’t continue to pay his fees and eventually ran into financial debt with the university. Although he had to encounter such, he continued his studies at the university and was told to repay his, which he started repaying in 2017 so his degree could be released.

YES! He did it! Siphenkosi later graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in Law from the University of Fort Hare in 2021. He repaid his debt and was handed his degree.

“My advice to others, who may fear to chase their dreams, is to start as soon as they can, despite the odds.

In April 2022, he got a call from one of the many East London law firms in South Africa and was employed to work full-time.

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: WhatsApp: +23276211583