MANCOSA graduate achieves success despite physical challenges - MANCOSA


MANCOSA graduate achieves success despite physical challenges

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“If you do not believe in yourself, how will you be able to convince others to believe in you?”

This is the maxim by which 56-year-old Western Cape resident Johan Koen lives to ensure that despite his physical disability, he is successful in his career.

Koen suffers from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare, autoimmune disorder in which a person’s immune system damages the nerves, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.

He did not let the disease, which affected his walking and led to a loss of feeling on his palms, deter him from working his way up the career ladder.

Koen, a father of three, is the Supply Chain and Asset Manager at the Department of Agriculture.

He holds a National Diploma in Purchasing Management, a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Logistics, Bachelor of Commerce Honors in Supply Chain Management and has just completed the Masters degree in Commerce at MANCOSA.

Koen said he benefited greatly from MANCOSA’s ease of registration and communication with students. He cites the professionalism of the administrative team and the tutors for making his studies at MANCOSA a pleasant one, whilst they were all mindful of his disabilities.

“MANCOSA is an institution that offers world-class qualifications. Help is always only an email or call away.”

He proudly boasts that he has already persuaded 15 colleagues at work to study through MANCOSA.

Koen said being a disabled man in the working world had its challenges. It had held him back from being promoted. But he found a way to work around this to ensure he was empowered.

“Without being empowered, one can start disbelieving in their own ability and never reach full potential.

“Every person has a leader locked inside him or her and must be given a fair opportunity for that leader to be unlocked,” he says.

In his role as a leader, he finds inspiration from seeing growth in his colleagues. He strives to empower them to be a better version of themselves.

When Koen is not busy managing the department, he enjoys playing snooker or doing carpentry.

With scientist Steven Hawking being Koen’s role model, he holds the view that no matter what set-backs you face, life is what you make of it.

Koen encourages students and graduates not to let their academic progress be hampered. “Life is all about decisions and only you can decide how your story will end.”

Koen plans to tackle his PhD in 2022.


MANCOSA, a leading provider of management programmes through supported distance learning in Southern Africa, is renowned for its MBA offering, which is ranked among the 10 of the best MBAs in Africa. A member of Honoris United Universities – the first Pan-African private higher education network focused on nurturing the next generation of African leaders and professionals. MANCOSA serves as an innovation hub for undergraduate and postgraduate management, offering 50 accredited programmes. A selection of Executive Education Short Learning Programmes is also offered to meet the requirements of professionals in both the private and public sectors. See:
For queries or additional information call 031 300 7200, email [email protected] or visit

About Honoris United Universities

Honoris United Universities is the first and largest Pan-African private higher education network committed to educating the next generation of African leaders and professionals able to impact regionally in a globalised world. Collaborative intelligence, cultural agility and mobile mind-sets and skills are at the heart of Honoris’ vision of higher education. Honoris United Universities joins the expertise of its member institutions to develop world-class African Human capital that is competitive in today’s fast-paced, demanding and increasingly digitised labour and start-up markets.

Honoris United Universities gathers a community of 57,000 students on 70 campuses, learning centres and via on-line, in 10 countries and 32 cities. The network counts 14 institutions: multidisciplinary universities, specialised schools, technical and vocational institutes, contact, distance, and online institutions. Students have an opportunity to experience exclusive partnerships and exchange programs in more than 85 universities across Europe and the United States. Over 300 degrees are offered in Health Sciences, Engineering, IT, Business, Law, Architecture, Creative Arts and Design, Media, Political Science and Education.

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Issued by:
Yogin Devan
Meropa Communications
(031) 201 0550 / 083 326 3962

On behalf of:
Honoris United Universities