Thulasizwe Mathenjwa with his sons Wanele and Uyanda Mathenjwa. Picture: Abhi Indrarajan

Thulasizwe Cedric Mathenjwa graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Westville campus on Monday. UZKN said that Mathenjwa had completed his degree with majors in geography and environmental management.

Mathenjwa sustained severe injuries after he was shot in a drug-related incident seven years ago which caused paralysis from the neck down.

He said the incident motivated him to turn his life around and work towards leading an honourable life. He spent 15 months recovering in hospital and when he was discharged he applied to study at the university.

“After I finished my matric I was hustling, I got involved with drugs and with crime. My sons were 3 and 2 years old when I was shot. I decided then that I was going to change my life and be a better person.”

The university said that Mathen­jwa was passionate about the environment and politics and hoped to make a mark in his industry.

“It has been very challenging to get to this point. Because of my paralysis, I have had to complete oral examinations and this has not been easy.”