Law graduate became a petrol attendant to complete his studies

May 1st, 2018

Candidate Legal Practitioner, Tsatseng Rantsho, worked as a petrol attendant to make ends meet while studying law.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

University of Johannesburg (UJ) graduate and candidate legal practitioner, Tsatseng Rantsho’s dream came true when he was awarded a bursary to study law after he matriculated. He told De Rebus that life as a tertiary student was tough and he could not make ends meet during his first year at university. Mr Rantsho said he discovered that he wanted to study law after receiving second place for an oral history competition in grade 11. He added that he was a troublesome student, but later changed his ways and put his potential to good use to realise his dream of studying law.

Mr Rantsho said that even after receiving a bursary, he still could not make ends meet. He then decided to get a job. He added that he was fortunate to get a job as a petrol attendant and was able to survive while pursuing his studies, as well as help his family. He said his peers were inspired by him and encouraged him to do what he could to complete his law degree. He noted that he also had a strong support system in his family, friends and partner. He said that while he was working as a petrol attendant some of the customers he served made him feel inferior, but he persevered by reminding himself that he was a legal practitioner in the making.

Mr Rantsho admitted that certain situations and reasons can lead to some students dropping out of tertiary institutions and pointed out that not being able to make ends meet is one of them. However, he said this should not be a reason to drop out of university. He added that students who struggle should find meaning in the struggle and face the challenge head on. Mr Rantsho said despite his challenges he grew as a leader and became the chairperson on the house committee of his residence for two years.

Mr Rantsho who is now serving his articles at Legal Aid South Africa noted that he has started a non-profit organisation (NPO) called Sgela 1st (School First). He said his NPO aims to encourage township students to take education seriously and consider tertiary education. He added that his work at Sgela 1st is done through motivational talks he gives at schools and one on one engagements with students. He said he is currently studying a postgraduate diploma in compliance at UJ and added that his plan is to be admitted as a legal practitioner and become a compliance officer at one of South Africa’s leading banks and also to grow his NPO.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

 This article was first published in De Rebus in 2018 (May) DR 13.