8 July 2024

Written by Milpark Communications 

Losing a loved one is devastating. Emerging as an overcomer is no easy feat. Losing four close family members and having a parent suffer a disabling stroke is unimaginable. Yet this is what Avile Qowa faced last year while completing her Postgraduate Diploma in Public Administration at Milpark Business School.

Remarkably, despite the grief and trauma, Avile graduated with distinction. At the same time, she held a full-time senior job in the government, raised her son as a single parent and helped to care for her ailing mother.

Being an overcomer, Avile shared her story to encourage others experiencing illness or loss. Her message is one of hope: hold on, even in the darkest of times.

A Year of Unimaginable Loss

As the Eastern Cape’s Assistant Director for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DCAS), Avile began postgraduate studies to apply the latest technology and strategic thinking to serving the public.

A year into her studies, her son needed an emergency appendectomy. The operation was successful, but on their way home from the hospital, she received the call everyone dreads: her husband, his mother and brother had been involved in a serious car accident. Two of them died on impact. Her husband, who was seriously injured, passed on three weeks later.

A couple of months after this tragedy, Avile’s mother, her rock, experienced a devastating stroke, leaving her in a coma. Her father-in-law then fell ill and subsequently died. The trauma seemed unending, yet Avile proved herself to be an overcomer in the face of relentless adversity. 

Faith, Family and Perseverance

Many times, Avile wanted to give up, but she kept going, knowing her son and mother needed her more than ever before. She prayed continuously for strength and her mother’s recovery.

In some of the most hopeless moments, a simple word of encouragement was enough to help her push through. Senior Lecturer Thea Ngele reached out during this time, encouraging Avile to attend her graduation and take something positive from her terrible year. “Thea made me think twice and she was right. Attending the graduation in April 2024 was a pivotal moment. It has helped me to look forward and begin to accept there are things that I cannot change.”

Focusing on the Future

Overcoming numerous challenges, Avile found that her course enhanced her strategic thinking, which has future-proofed her career and helped her to remain committed and engaged at work despite the challenges she faced.

"I learned how things are changing with AI and future technologies. I could immediately integrate what I was learning into policy development and finding potential solutions to strategic problems. I will treasure this learning for life.”

Playing the Long Game

Avile is a firm believer in playing the long game, having a goal and working towards it with determination and willingness of an overcomer.

“After school, I wanted to do a B Tech in Sports Management, but the course was full. I moved to Cape Town anyway and did a short secretarial course before getting onto the B Tech. That secretarial qualification helped me to secure my first job with the Department of Sport as an administration clerk.”

She says half the battle is knowing your ‘why’: “I have always wanted to make my mom proud. She has done so much to make me the person I am today. As an overcomer, I can do anything and conquer against all odds if it’s for her.”

Read More: How a PGDip Public Admin student's struggle became his strength

What’s Next?

As a true overcomer, Avile feels ready to take on whatever challenges and opportunities come her way. “I now have NQF Level 8, which opens up many more doors for me.” We wish her every success.

Avile’s story shows how even the toughest challenges can be overcome with faith, perseverance and hard work. She encourages anyone struggling to speak up. “If you need help, reach out. You don’t have to figure it out by yourself. Trust the Milpark process; they know what they are doing.”

If you need support speak to your lecturer or contact the student support team.

Avile Qowa's journey is a testament to the spirit of an overcomer. Avile Qowa graduated with distinction despite experiencing unimaginable loss during her studies. Reflecting on her journey, she identified seven ingredients that helped her overcome extreme adversity:

Seven Ingredients that Can Help You Overcome Adversity:

1. Always keep learning. Knowledge is power.

2. The company you keep matters. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.

3. Accept things you cannot change.

4. Be grateful for what you have.

5. Know who and what inspires you

6. Don’t doubt what you can achieve.

7. When it feels impossible, pray.

Final Thoughts

If you aspire to be an overcomer like Avile, take the first step towards achieving your dreams. Apply for a course at Milpark Business School today and unlock your potential. Milpark's comprehensive programs and supportive community are designed to empower you to overcome challenges and succeed in your personal and professional life.