From Suffering to Success: Woman From Zimbabwe Escapes Unwanted Marriage & Poverty to Bag PhD in Law From UCT

From Suffering to Success: Woman From Zimbabwe Escapes Unwanted Marriage & Poverty to Bag PhD in Law From UCT

  • An inspiring woman who was born in Zimbabwe has bagged a PhD in Commercial Law from UCT, overcoming a troubled past and escaping a child marriage to achieve success
  • Julieth Gudo has always loved education but needed to conquer mountains to obtain success, with the 31-year-old escaping to South Africa as a refugee at the age of 16
  • The young lady is now undertaking a postdoctoral research position at UCT and couldn’t be happier about the fantastic achievement

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There are often many obstacles on the road to success and for Julieth Gudo, this was even more prominent, with the young woman conquering mountains to obtain a doctoral degree in Commercial Law from the University of Cape Town (UCT).

The Zimbabwean lady did not have an easy childhood, with her parents passing away when she was only seven years old. Julieth was also separated from her brother, who lived with their uncle, with the 31-year-old staying with their paternal grandparents at the time.

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PhD, doctor, commercial law, UCT, Zimbabwe, cape Town, success, escaped child marriage, refugee
Julieth Gudo went through so much to eventually achieve her PhD in Commercial Law at UCT. Image: Dr Julieth Gudo/LinkedIn.
Source: UGC

The inspiring woman told YOU Magazine that she found solace in education and always had an insatiable love of learning. She was also at the top of her class at the age of 12, despite walking to school with a rumbling tummy and no shoes on her feet:

"School was that place where I could hide and run away from my problems.”

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Although the grandmother with whom she stayed supported her desire to attend school, after she passed away, things went from bad to worse, with Julieth running away from home in the middle of the night when she was 12, to escape marrying a man who was significantly older than she was.

She then stayed in Bulawayo for four years with her maternal grandmother and wasn’t allowed to go to school, with the young woman forced to cook and clean.

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Eventually, she had enough, and at the age of 16, the perseverant woman and a group of other people crossed the border and sought refuge in South Africa, Jacaranda FM reported.

It was a dangerous trek through crocodile-infested waters across the Limpopo River and the young lady thought she would lose her life.

"I told myself that maybe I was just born to suffer,” she told YOU Magazine.

Eventually, she found help in South Africa and stayed in a church where refugees were housed. There, she had a place to sleep, food to eat, and was able to make money by working around the shelter.

When she was 20, Julieth eventually went back to school and matriculated with three distinctions. Thereafter, she studied Law at the University of Limpopo, initially paying for her fees by working, but then receiving a scholarship from the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

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The woman then pursued a Master of Laws at UCT and bagged her PhD from the same institution in December 2021.

In a post on LinkedIn, Julieth expressed how proud she was of her achievement and noted that she worked super hard to now be called ‘doctor’.

“I crossed the border as a minor and stayed in a refugee centre in SA for close to a decade. I went back to school after 8 years after not receiving any formal education since grade 7. I worked very hard to see this day. [There is] hope for refugees, orphans, women, and young people in general!”

The go-getter is now a postdoctoral researcher at UCT and loves every moment of her fellowship. How inspiring!

Brilliant young woman from Zimbabwe overcomes abject poverty to become chartered accountant at 23

In a related story by, a determined lady has been moving mountains since she was young, overcoming extreme poverty to become a chartered accountant at the age of 23.

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The now 24-year-old became the youngest person from Africa to be admitted into university in 2012 at the age of 14. The brilliant youngster also holds an entire Master of Science in Accounting that she obtained at the young age of 20.

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