The Eritrean Who Walked 4000km To SA Is Now A Graduate


One man’s meat they say is another man’s poison. While many South Africans do not see anything good in the country and cannot wait to run off to countries where the grass is greener and where the taps flow with milk and honey, people from other African countries come to South Africa for their greener grass. One of such people is Yibrah Ghebreyohannes, who fled Eritrea in 2010 as a result of the country’s border conflicts with neighboring Ethiopia which left many people dead and others displaced. Little did anyone know that his departure would mark the beginning of a great journey and an epic story that would be told generations later. See Also: There’s A New Black Boy With The Brightest Future In South Africa  In the words of Ghebreyohannes to University of Kwazulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Ndaba Online publication.

‘I crossed more than five countries, and travelled for more than 4000 km on foot just to secure an education in South Africa because I believe education is the only weapon that helps us to fight against all odds.’

In his determined quest for a better life, he made the difficult decision to put away concerns about being kidnapped, robbed or even murdered at the numerous borders he had to cross on his odyssey. After he arrived South Africa, he was granted refugee status after a long struggle which permitted him to work and study – however, he made the best of the options he was given.

‘Despite the challenges that existed, I decided to pursue my studying. The first institution I accessed was UKZN and in 2011, I pursued an honours degree. Despite numerous challenges, I managed to finish my degree in 2012.’

After all of the hustle, his efforts paid off because he recently graduated with a Masters degree in Geography, a subject for which he has a passion and taught at college level back home. His thesis was titled ‘Displacement and Adjustment: Ethiopian Environmental Migrants in Durban, South Africa’. Coincidentally, Durban has been at the epicentre of the recent spate of violence against foreign nationals in South Africa.

‘People migrate or are forced to move due to many factors. The political, social and economical factors have been analysed as the main reasons for migration. However, global climate change is becoming one of the main threatening issues on human livelihood,’ he said.

We salute Mr Ghebreyohannes for his dedication and determination to not let any unfavourable situation deter him from his dreams. Tread On! See Also: Top 5 Places To Get A Free Quality Education In South Africa