32-year-old housemaid bags university degree after 12 years of caring for others


Ntombizodwa Merriam Mahlangu, a 32-year-old housemaid, received support from her job and earned her degree from the University of South Africa. Ntombizodwa Just 9 years after working as a domestic worker, Merriam Mahlangu received an exceptional Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Public Administration and Communication Facilitation from the University of South Africa.

She had always wanted to be a teacher since she was a little girl. Her advancement was hampered by the fact that she lost both of her parents when she was still a child. As well as a lack of resources and development in rural areas, a subpar educational system, money problems, and an unplanned pregnancy.

I grew up on a farm with my grandparents and three siblings, while my parents were in Gauteng trying to make a living.

It was a tough environment with no electricity, no water supply, and extremely far from school,” Ntombizodwa narrated

At the age of 19, Ntombizodwa fell pregnant and had to take care of her new child.

At the time, she had completed high school and was in line to proceed to the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa.

Due to the pregnancy, she had to abandon her university education and pursue efforts that will earn her a living to take care of her new child.

She started work as a domestic worker in South Africa in 2007 and in 2018, she got employed by a generous man known as advocate A.J.A Cornelius.

Advocate Cornelius not only offered her employment, but he also took her in as his own daughter.

Four years after working with Advocate Cornelius’s family, she had learned to use a computer and Microsoft office, learnt to drive, and she eventually became a receptionist


With the help of Advocate Cornelius, Ntombizodwa was able to enrol at the University of South Africa (UNISA) to pursue her academic ambition.

In 2018, Ntombizodwa finally earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Public Administration and Communication Facilitation.

She shared her accomplishments on social media and referred to Advocate Cornelius as her father, saying he had been very kind to her all along the way.

Because of my father, Adv. A.J.A. Cornelius, I’m staying. I hired him as a domestic servant and helped raise his daughter at the beginning of our relationship.

He informally adopted me as his one of his daughters as well. This platform is not enough to share everything that he has done for me,” she said.

Throughout my education, I lost both of my parents. On the day I graduated, he was the only parent I had with me.

I’m hoping my uncles would comprehend when I ask them to keep his share of my “lobola.