Graduating Cum Laude is the Cherry on Top for MBA Graduate

Graduating <em>Cum Laude</em> is the Cherry on Top for MBA Graduate
Ms Levashni Moodley obtained an MBA cum laude.

The process of planning a wedding can be overwhelming for any bride but add studying for an MBA to the mix then that’s  a sure fire recipe for  a stressful situation demanding a careful balancing act!

MBA cum laude graduate Ms Levashni Moodley managed it saying it’s all about setting goals and sticking to them.

Moodley who tied the knot with her partner Mr Denver Naidoo managed to pursue a long distance relationship during her studies and planned her wedding during the final year of her MBA dispelling the myth that the qualification is a “divorce course”.

‘Denver was very easy-going and gave in to my many requests, which made planning the wedding an absolute delight. We had great assistance from both our families, especially from our mums and sisters,’ she said.

As much as she had the support of her family, as the then Financial Manager of Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom which is a demanding occupation, Moodley also needed the support of her employers for her to succeed in her studies.

She has now relocated to Johannesburg and is currently employed as a Finance Executive at Vodacom. Moodley’s dissertation titled: “The effectiveness of a loyalty programme at one of the leading casino in KwaZulu-Natal” revealed that the system of customer loyalty programmes is a successful mechanism in order to gain customer loyalty and increase profitability in the casino industry.

‘I chose this topic because I am aware that a casino invests a considerable amount of money in loyalty programmes and I wanted empirical evidence that this money is well spent in attracting and retaining customer,’ said Moodley.

While Moodley expected to graduate this year because she had done well in the course work she did not expect to graduate cum laude - an achievement which she describes as ‘the perfect culmination of more than two years of sacrifice’.

‘At the start of my MBA, I set myself a goal to graduate cum laude so I am proud of myself for achieving this. I believe that an MBA is a sought-after qualification for all aspiring leaders and I am humbled to now be a part of this esteemed pool of talent. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent pursuing my MBA and there is not an iota of doubt in my mind that it is a worthwhile qualification – it equips you for success in both professional and personal spheres of your life,’ she said.

Moodley’s supervisor and the Dean and Head of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Professor Anesh Singh, said: ‘It is evident that Levashni worked extremely hard to get the distinctions for her dissertation.  Being a slave driver I pushed her hard but she was up to the challenge.  I will be working with her to submit her work to relevant journals.’

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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MBA Study Investigates Security Services at UKZN

MBA Study Investigates Security Services at UKZN
Maintaining law and order on campus - Mr Manoj Hardeo.

UKZN Traffic Coordinator Mr Manoj Hardeo’s passion for better security services at UKZN has led him to investigating perceptions of students regarding security services at UKZN.

The study earned him an MBA degree which was supervised by Professor Anesh Singh.

Commenting on his study Hardeo said: ‘A better security service inevitably adds value to the institution as it lowers the institution’s insurance risk profile and attracts investment and donors.  If security is managed effectively UKZN will become the institution of choice for parents and prospective students.’

Hardeo’s study revealed that while there was a perception among students that resources were not used to the full, the majority of students believed that security was the responsibility of the entire University community.

He plans to use of study findings to enhance the security services at UKZN because as the University community evolves new strategies to make the students feel safe and secure are constantly required.

Hardeo is passionate about law and order and this is evident in the previous qualifications - an LLB and LLM.

-          Hazel Langa 

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Mpumalanga’s Finance MEC Graduates Cum Laude

Mpumalanga’s Finance MEC Graduates <em>Cum Laude</em>
From left: Executive member of Convocation, Ms Thembeka Dlungwane; MEC Mr Madala Masuku; and DVC for the College of Health Sciences, Professor Rob Slotow.

The need to broaden his knowledge of Local Economic Development (LED) for the development and sustainability of municipalities in Mpumalanga, motivated the province’s Department of Finance MEC Mr Madala Masuku to pursue studies towards a Master of Commerce in  Leadership Studies (MCom) at UKZN.

Masuku started his career as a Teacher but his love for politics and leadership qualities quickly saw him being appointed as the Project Manager and Co-ordinator for the Youth Education Trust and serve on the regional executives of the African National Congress and the ANC Youth League at various levels.

He was elected as the Member of the Provincial Legislature and subsequently appointed to various MEC positions within Mpumalanga’s provincial government.

Masuku said graduating with an MCom cum laude would help him deliver quality service delivery for his community.

‘There seemed to be absence of leadership around Local Economic Development (LED), so I chose the subject and started reading around it while looking for an institution that was focused on the subject. That is how I found out about UKZN’s MCom (Leadership) and I have acquired a lot of knowledge on the subject of LED and leadership. The development of our economy, creation of jobs and viability of municipalities are critical in the development of our society,’ he said.

Growing up in the poverty stricken village of Calcutta in  Bushbuckridge which battled with high levels of unemployment and illiteracy, Masuku identifies with the challenges that the community of Mpumalanga is facing such as lack of water, electricity, the need for houses and the need to improve the state of the roads.

Therefore his dissertation titled: “Leadership in Local Economic Development within the Ehlanzeni District Municipality Mpumalanga Province”, aimed to find the solution to these issues and contribute to the province’s target of operation clean audit 2014.

‘As a public representative and a responsible South African, this study has helped me to understand the depth of the challenges of poverty, development, unemployment and inequalities. This knowledge acquired has made me more confident and empowered me with skills to systematically deal with the challenges of society.’

Masuku is driven by his passion to share his knowledge and experiences with those around him including his three children and colleagues - his whole family came from Mpumalanga to celebrate with him on graduation day.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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PG Diploma a Gateway to a Brighter Future for Committee Officer

PG Diploma a Gateway to a Brighter Future for Committee Officer
Ms Siphiwe Vilakazi.

Ms Siphiwe Vilakazi, Committee Officer from the College of Law and Management Studies has been  awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Management during one of UKZN’s Graduation ceremonies in April.

Vilakazi has always yearned to further her academic qualifications. ‘When I joined the University in 2008 I saw the opportunity of finally pursuing my dream of obtaining a qualification in Management and coincidently I happened to be in the College offering it,’ she said.  

Vilakazi is responsible for the provision of essential support services to the committees of the College. This portfolio comes with a great responsibility of managing the resources in her Unit, planning and documentation of meetings, and ensuring that the deliberations are actioned.

The completion of her studies has boosted her confidence and allowed her to provide an efficient service to the College. She said: ‘I now see a bigger picture of my role as Committee Officer.  I understand the direction of the College and recognise the impact of my job in the implementation of decisions.’

Vilakazi is currently studying towards a Masters in Management. She is grateful to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College Professor John Mubangizi and College staff for the continuous support and encouragement during her studies. 

She said: ‘I dedicate this Diploma to my parents Mr Mandla and Mrs Nomusa Vilakazi who have never ceased to support me although they have no formal education themselves – they think I am now the Manager!’

On juggling work, studies and family she said: ‘I had to keep both meetings’ diary and personal diary in a stricter manner to try and balance everything. It had not been easy, particularly for my six-year-old daughter who did not understand why I was never home to tuck-her in as my studies were during evenings and I was often on campus during weekends for group work and assignments.   But it was worth it.’

Mubangizi commended Vilakazi for her quest for academic excellence.

-          Hazel Langa

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Postgraduate Qualification Unlocks Student’s Potential

Postgraduate Qualification Unlocks Student’s Potential
Mr Karl Blom graduated with his LLM cum laude.

The decision to pursue postgraduate studies after his LLB yielded excellent results for Law student Mr Karl Blom who graduated with his LLM cum laude through research he did into laws pertaining to oil pollution from offshore installations with the hope of broadening the scope of literature in this area.

Blom aims to utilise his dissertation titled:  “Civil Liability for Damage Caused by Oil Pollution from Off-Shore Platforms - a Comparative Study of a Domestic and Instruments”, to  explore “international best practice” that might be of assistance in developing South Africa's own oil pollution laws.

‘I was inspired to research this topic due to the recent deepwater horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico,’ said Blom. ‘My greatest challenge in researching this topic was the lack of similar research conducted in this field. There are very few authors who directly approach the issue of oil pollution from offshore platforms, so I was forced to rely on analogous arguments. When you are undertaking a large-scale research project for the first time, the lack of clear authorities on the subject can be extremely daunting.’

As the winner of the 2012 Ellie Newman Memorial Moot Final Competition and the recipient of the LexisNexis Prize for the Best Maritime Law Masters student at the recent School of Law’s Awards Ceremony, Blom has already displayed outstanding legal skills and could have chosen to enter the job market after completing his LLB.

Instead, he considered how a postgraduate qualification would benefit his career in the long term. His decision was influenced by the opportunity postgraduate study provides to pursue arguments and ideas that would not necessarily be canvassed in a typical lecture environment. He also noted that a personal supervisor-student relationship differed from that of a standard lecturer-student relationship, as it allowed for far greater discussion and independence.

‘Studying for an LLM is very different from studying for an LLB. The LLB, for good reason, is very structured with clear deadlines and expectations, whereas a LLM is unstructured and constantly developing. The scope of my dissertation changed three times during my earlier drafts and one is constantly questioning whether an argument should be investigated or excluded. I feel that the LLM process is vital to achieving academic maturity, as it forces the student to move away from the close supervision of lecturers and to find independence in their studies. This independence is key not only to academics, but also in legal practice,’ said Blom.

With newly acquired specialist knowledge that will give him the competitive-edge over his peers, Blom is currently completing his articles at Webber Wentzel but aspires to gain further exposure into Maritime Law in the future.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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From Humble Beginnings to Top Achiever for Summa Cum Laude Graduate

From Humble Beginnings to Top Achiever for <em>Summa Cum Laude</em> Graduate
Mr Ntokozo Qwabe.

When Mr Ntokozo Qwabe started his LLB degree in 2007 he was just a youngster from the rural area of Oyaya in Eshowe with his parents’ hopes of him becoming the first person to graduate in his family weighing heavily on his shoulders.

Young Qwabe also had high hopes of following in the footsteps of his role model, the late former Chief Justice Pius Langa, and the desire to empower the less fortunate and inspire change in any way possible.

Seven years later that rural boy has graduated with his LLB summa cum laude and is currently doing an LLM in Constitutional and Administrative Law at the University of Cape Town as a Mandela  Rhodes Scholar. He will use his KZN Rhodes Scholarship to study for two masters degrees at the University of Oxford later this year.

And it doesn’t end there! Qwabe was also an intern under Justice Edwin Cameron at the Constitutional Court of South Africa and recently received the UKZN Distinguished Students Award, the highest student honour at UKZN across the five campuses, for his academic excellence, university service and extensive community engagement.

For a person who had to drop out of university to work as a cashier at Checkers Supermarket for two years because of severe financial and socio-economic difficulties, these achievements prove that with hard work, determination and an academic environment which nurtures potential and supports talent such as UKZN, anything is possible.

‘It is magical to finish a degree at all as a Black student; to do it summa cum laude is just unbelievable,’ said Qwabe. ‘The number of Black summa cum laude or cum laude graduates is too low at universities because the plight of Black students at universities is still shaped by the historical imbalances which we currently have in South Africa making it hard for them to excel. Going forward this will hopefully serve as a huge inspiration to Black students at universities to see that they can still do well despite their disadvantage if they see beyond it,’ said Qwabe.

Proud parents Felokwakhe and Nomali Qwabe are overjoyed at having a son who with his success has overcome so many obstacles to achieve so much and empower others.

Speaking from their home in Oyaya, Mrs Qwabe could not hold back the tears of joy which she admits are a welcome change from all the tears of sorrow she cried when poverty threatened to destroy her son’s academic dreams.

‘When I think about the hard times we have been through and all the nights I have cried myself to sleep because my son is working as a cashier instead of pursuing his dreams at University, it breaks my heart. I prayed for him and his dreams and the Lord answered because Ntokozo has gone on to achieve so much more then we could ever hope for.’

‘When he told me about his scholarship to Oxford, I was worried that he would go overseas and not come back but he calls me often and reassures me that he will be fine and he will come home safely but as a mother you can never worry too much,’ she said.

Qwabe’s father is more proud of the man his son has become and how he continues to stay humble and to make his success not only for himself but also for his fellow students and his community through his contributions to society and the community.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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Law Students and Rhodes Scholars Graduate Summa Cum Laude

Law Students and Rhodes Scholars Graduate <em>Summa Cum Laude</em>
Rhodes Scholars Mr Ntokozo Qwabe and Ms Seham Areff.

Inspiring Greatness is not just a tag line but a way of life for UKZN Law students and recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship, Ms Seham Areff and Mr Ntokozo Qwabe, who graduated summa cum laude to add to their impressive achievements.

Areff and Qwabe were awarded their their LLB degrees during a Graduation ceremony and as the recipients of the South Africa at Large and KwaZulu-Natal Rhodes Scholarship respectively, the pair will further their studies at Oxford University in England for two years.

Areff - currently working as a clerk for Mr Justice Johann van der Westhuizen in the Constitutional Court of South Africa - has been accepted at Oxford to study for a Bachelor of Civil Law which she will do for the first year before studying for her Masters in Global Governance and Diplomacy.

‘Through this Scholarship, I am now able to study and practice Law which is what I am most interested in and passionate about. It is because of an LLB qualification from UKZN that I was accepted into the BCL programme at Oxford, which is one of the most intellectually stimulating and challenging law programmes in the world. I am so grateful and blessed and I take this as a good foundation from which I can move forward and apply the same hard work and dedication to my field,’ she said.

Areff’s other academic achievements include graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science and Legal Studies in 2012. She has also competed in numerous domestic and international debating competitions including the Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge Budapest Forum last year where she debated the policy choices of Digital Freedom and Its Limits. She has also won a grant from the International Debate and Education Association to intern at a Non-Governmental Organisation of her choice after her studies.

For Qwabe, who is currently doing an LLM in Constitutional and Administrative Law at the University of Cape Town as a Rhodes Scholar, the journey to academic success was one of determination and succeeding despite facing severe financial and socio-economic difficulties. Growing up in a huge family of 13 children - all dependent on the sole income of their father who was employed as a caretaker at a high school in Durban - to dropping out of university and being forced to work as a cashier at Checkers Supermarket then returning to his studies to achieve 34 distinctions, 20 Certificates of Merit and seven Dean’s Commendations among other awards, is a true testament to tenacity, dedication and hard work.

Qwabe recently won the UKZN Distinguished Student Award, the highest student honour at UKZN across the five campuses, for his academic excellence, university service and extensive community engagement.

‘I am very happy because, as black students, we always see people of other races getting summa cum laude passes which motivated me to break the trend. All of these achievements show that regardless of what kind of severe disadvantage you are studying under, there is no excuse not to go out there and use your potential to the full.

‘I am aware that there are fellow students who, like me, face enormous socio-economic challenges and I hope my example inspires them to realise that nothing is impossible. I studied law because I think it can, along with other fields, serve as a creative tool to bring about social change and justice. There are various community development projects I am involved in and which I would like to see blossoming,’ he said.

As part of his quest of uplifting and empowering others, Qwabe founded and chairs the Rural Students’ Society; was on the executive committees of the Black Management Forum and the Students for Law and Social Justice; and was selected to represent UKZN at the international African Human Rights Moot Court Competition where the University was ranked in the top 10. He also co-founded and served as the Editor-in-Chief of the UKZN Student Law Review journal which is the first of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal.

His immediate academic plans include using his Rhodes Scholarship to study for two masters degrees at the University of Oxford.

He has been admitted to study towards a BCL in Public Law in his first year, where he will explore courses such as Comparative Public Law, Comparative Human Rights Law, International Economic Law and a course in Jurisprudence and Political Theory. In the second year, he plans to pursue an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy.

Dean and Head of the Law School, Professor Managay Reddi said: ‘I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the staff in my School and thank them for the excellent work they are doing in producing graduates like Ms Areff and Mr Qwabe. The School of Law has been an integral partner in supporting students who are determined to make a difference to the lives of all South Africans by inspiring young people to aspire to great heights.’

-        Thandiwe Jumo

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Six Bachelor of Law Students Graduate Cum Laude


Six “very proud” UKZN Bachelor of Law students have graduated cum laude – the result of ‘hard work and dedication’.

They are Ms Nadia Padayachee, Mr Merrick Jennings, Ms Suraksha Chandramohan, Ms Phylicia Naidoo, Ms Karuna Naidoo, Ms Kerina Appanna and Ms Alison Vadachalam.

The ceremony marked a double celebration for Appana, Vadachalam, Phylicia Naidoo and Karuna Naidoo who also received the Phatshoane Henney Group Honour Medal at the School of Law Students’ Awards Ceremony which coincided with the 12th Annual Victoria & Griffiths Mxenge Memorial Lecture which preceded the ceremony.

For Phylicia who is currently a Candidate Attorney at Webber Wentzel,  the academic journey had some highs and lows but she will never forget the great friendships she made and the quality education she received from experts in the legal sector.

‘I am proud that despite an abundance of subjects which proved to be a challenge, I persevered on the path to reach my intended destination, and was rewarded for it. I was given the opportunity to study the field of Law, which I had always dreamed of finding my niche within. I was able to do so in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, whilst creating friendships with unforgettable people, soaking up knowledge from the most interesting and learned of academics; and making memories to last a lifetime,’ she said.

Appana described studying for an LLB as a life changing experience which has taught her how to work under pressure and under severe stress-filled situations. She is currently studying towards an LLM in Medical Law and her future career aspirations include being admitted as an attorney and becoming an academic. 

The College of Law and Management Studies is proud of the students achievements and the School of Law’s tradition of producing graduates who are highly sought after across a wide range of legal careers.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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Prompting Social Justice through Research a Priority for PhD Law Graduate

Prompting Social Justice through Research a Priority for PhD Law Graduate
Dr Ann Strode.

Doing research for her PhD allowed Law academic Dr Ann Strode an opportunity to address the issues of women and child abuse, exploitation and other social ills.

Her thesis was titled: “Walking the Tightrope – Creating an Ethical-Legal Framework for Health Research with Children: Balancing Child Protection and Participation with the Facilitation of Appropriate Health Research”.

It was premised on an acceptance that children are at high risk of childhood diseases, and health research is required to develop evidence-based interventions which promote their health and well-being. It used the analogy of walking on a tightrope to describe the complexity of using the law to balance competing interests in regulating such research.

‘I would like to think that the thesis enhances our understanding of research ethics governance and its recommendations make a contribution to the development of a more balanced ethical-legal framework for research with children. I feel that it enhanced my writing skills as I had a lot of practice during the six years of working on the topic. It also sharpened my analytical skills. I think its value is that it gives you inner-confidence in a particular area as you have read, thought and written so much about a single topic,’ said Strode.

Strode is continuously using her legal talent to service the community by providing legal research expertise on health matters through strategic partnerships with the Department of Health and other  health and human rights organisations.

 Her ground-breaking research into the forced or coerced sterilisation of women living with HIV has empowered women to take a stand against the discriminatory practice. She was recently requested by the Social Development Portfolio Committee at the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature to run a workshop on children’s rights with a special focus on the sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents.

Strode also took the opportunity to explore the practical side of her research as  a member of the Human Sciences Research Ethics Committee which gave her an opportunity to face critical issues relating to the regulation of health research with children on an on-going basis.

She is also a member of the executive of the HIV/AIDS Vaccines Ethics Group which is a research unit in the School of Applied Health Sciences whose research focus area is on the participation of adolescents in HIV prevention studies.

‘I was frequently consulted by the Committee which brought to my attention new complexities and nuances with the application of legal principles. This gave me an opportunity to collaborate on many papers in this field and ultimately much of this work formed the backbone of my thesis,’ she said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Academic Graduates with PhD in Male Dominated Field

UKZN Academic Graduates with PhD in Male Dominated Field
Law academic Dr Shannon Bosch was awarded a PhD.

The School of Law’s Academic Leader for Research and Higher Degrees Dr Shannon Bosch graduated with a doctoral degree in the male-dominated field of the Laws of War/International Humanitarian Law. 

Bosch’s thesis was titled: “The Combatant Status of Non-State Actors in International Armed Conflicts, in Light of the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities”. She sought to understand how one classifies persons such as child soldiers, voluntary human shields, journalists, relief workers and private security contractors within the legal framework of humanitarian law (IHL) which classifies all participants in armed conflict as either combatants or civilians which is a passion for Bosch.

‘I have always enjoyed the analytical aspect of law, especially unpacking and building logical arguments. My interest in laws of war/international humanitarian law was inspired by my lecturer at Cambridge University in England: Retired Colonel APV Rogers who taught me IHL and sparked my love for the law that applied in times of war,’ said Bosch.

It came as no surprise that Bosch has chosen to pursue a legal career as it runs in her wider family - Goodricke's law firm, the oldest in Durban, was, she says, was founded by her great, great, great, great grandfather, who was the fifth mayor of Durban.

Bosch has earned her legal stripes beginning her studies at UKZN where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude, and then studied a joint Honours in both Philosophy and Political science and graduating cum laude. Completing her LLB she graduated as the Top Law student at UKZN with Jimmy Gorman and Connor memorial prizes.

She then interrupted serving her articles at Goodrickes attorneys to study for an LLM (International Law) at Cambridge on Mandela–Magdalene and Commonwealth DFID scholarships. 

‘It is an honour to graduate in this field – with my preference for academic research it was a wise choice to pursue a career in academia. I am looking forward to using the knowledge I gained from my PhD to grow into my role within the Law School.’

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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Law School Produces Graduates of the Highest Calibre


The commitment by UKZN’s Law School to excellent, effective, ethical and socially relevant legal education has again produced an impressive batch of summa cum laude graduates.

The following high achievers were recognised during this year’s School of Law Graduation ceremony: Mr Ugendran Odayar, Ms Seham Areff, Mr Caleb Jones, Mr Ntokozo Qwabe,Mr Jason Larkin, Ms Tafazwa Chiposi, Ms Sarah Kannapathi, Ms Tasmika Ramkaran and Mr Mohammed Saib.

Odayar  scooped the overall winner of the 2013 Annual Prize Moot Final in Pietermaritzburg and was the recipient of the Matthew Francis Incorporated Attorneys Prize for Best Civil Procedure student; the Venn Nemeth & Hart Prize for the Best Administrative Law student;  the J Leslie Smith & Company Prize; the Cox Yeats Prize for the Best Corporate Law student; the Werksman  Negotiable Instruments Prize; the LexisNexis Prize for Best Maritime Law student and Top Overall student; the Phatshoane Henney Group Honour Medal  and the Pietermaritzburg Attorney’s Association and F.B Burchell Memorial for the Annual Prize Moot Final Moot .

Odayar, who is currently serving his articles at Norton Rose Fulbright said he intends to use his LLB as a stepping stone in the pursuit of a career as an attorney.

‘I believe that this qualification will definitely assist me in reaching this stage. This achievement has showed me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Initially I used to look at the board of LLB graduates who graduated summa cum laude and always believed that it was virtually impossible to achieve,’ he said.

Apart from the highlight of graduating summa cum laude, Areff and Qwabe are recipients of the South Africa at Large and KwaZulu-Natal Rhodes Scholarships respectively. The pair will use the scholarships to further their studies at Oxford University in England for two years. At the awards ceremony, Areff received the LexisNexis Prize for the Best Gender & Law student and the both she and Qwabe were awarded the Phatshoane Henney Group Honour Medal and the 22nd Africa Human Rights Moot Competition.

Jones was another high achiever at the awards ceremony receiving the Abel Torf Prize for the Best Overall LLB student, the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society Prize for the Best Overall Student, and the Garlicke&Bousfield Prize for the Best Environmental Law Student.

Commenting on his achievements, Jones said studying for an LLB was no easy task as it often meant many late nights and hours behind books but the rewards were worth it.

‘Coming into my studies for my LLB my goal was to eventually graduate summa cum laude. Throughout the four years I had managed to keep my grades at that level and knew I was on par to achieve my goal. My family has been a pillar of strength for me during my degree and they were equally as happy as I was. It finally felt that the many hours of hard work had paid off and had been worth the effort. It was a personal victory for me to know that I can achieve whatever I set my mind on,’ he said.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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Law Graduates Motivated to Strive for Success

Law Graduates Motivated to Strive for Success
Judge Kenneth Mthiyane (centre) with Professors John Mubangizi and Managay Reddi.

The Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the Honourable Mr Justice Kenneth Mthiyane encouraged young people to use their newly acquired knowledge as a tool to fight the challenges arising from unemployment, lack of skills, service delivery issues, poverty and inequality facing the country during his address to School of Law graduates at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mthiyane who worked alongside struggle icons Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge in contributing to South Africa’s legal history delivered a talk titled: Success: making choices and setting goals to give graduates a an overview of the challenges that lie ahead for them in the legal profession and advice on how they can  apply their newly found skills to overcome them.

‘The fact that you have made this wonderful achievement can only mean that you made the right choice and set yourself certain goals to achieve that objective. Congratulations to you for “toughing it out” and to your parents for helping you along the way and seeing you through,’ said Mthiyane.

‘As you enter your respective chosen professions it is now up to you to show the community what you can offer. The University has given you the tools of trade. It is now for you to take matters in your hands and make a final push to realise you dreams. The expectation is high that you will put up your hands to be counted, to help our country succeed,’ he added.

As a UKZN alumnus who also graduated with a post-graduate degree with a daughter who has also graduated with a Law degree from this Institution, Mthiyane expressed his confidence that the graduates will contribute to the School’s history of producing a top calibre graduates who pursue careers in various fields of law.

‘I was also a student here many years ago and was privileged to do my graduate and post-graduate studies here at this campus and can vouch for the highest standard excellence, especially in the School of Law. As you enter your respective chosen professions it is now up to you to show the community what you can offer,’ he said.

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Humble Beginnings and Commitment a Recipe for Success, Says Graduate

Humble Beginnings and Commitment a Recipe for Success, Says Graduate
PhD in Public Administration graduate Dr Thembekile Ntshakala (left) with her supervisor Dr Thokozani Nzimakwe.

Realising that irrespective of upbringing, a person can achieve anything and see their dream come true is what motivated Dr Thembekile Ntshakala to complete her studies and graduate with a Doctoral dgree in Public Administration.

‘My humble background motivated me to work hard and to be a beacon of hope for the youth in rural areas. I wanted to prove that irrespective of upbringing you can achieve and realise your dream.’

‘Education is something that no-one can take away from you and it is therefore the best weapon young people should arm themselves with,’ said Ntshakala.

While government transparency and accountability was the focus of her research, she also stressed that citizens needed to participate in government processes.

Local government employee and aspiring academic, Ntshakala, said she chose to study for a Doctorate in Public Administration because it was the qualification relevant in the Public Sector and beyond.

The title of her research was: “District Governance in South African Local Government: A Case Study of West Rand District Municipality”.

‘The study is very relevant to citizens because among the elements/characteristics of governance are participation, transparency, accountability, responsiveness, performance, efficiency and effectiveness. These elements are of interest to citizens. For instance with participation, citizens have to be involved in the government processes, while governments, on the other hand must be transparent and also accountable in their processes.’

Ntshakala said the aims of  her study  were to:

·        Analyse the extent of alignment between Planning, Implementation and Performance Management;

·        Assess the effectiveness of the community involvement in these processes;

·        Examine the role of public participation in the service delivery processes; and Evaluate the extent to which performance management and measurement contribute. 

Reflecting on her experience and challenges at the University, she said coming from rural Nongoma to the city of Durban was overwhelming and adapting to University life itself was a challenge.

‘The set up at the University of attending lectures at different venues and the diversity was a shock for me. Language was another challenge since the communication had to be in English,’ said Ntshakala.

Some of the highlights in her achievements were completing her masters in record time, being accepted to study for her Doctorate and the approval of her research proposal. ‘I must indicate that balancing work and studying for my Doctorate was a bit strenuous. All thanks to my supervisor because he understood my situation and we did some of the communication via email and we met for one-on-one discussion.’

Ntshakala thanked her family, siblings and her supervisor Dr Thokozani Nzimakwe, for always believing in her and contributing to her success. She also thanked her friends, colleagues and other people for their encouragement.

-         Sithembile Shabangu

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It is Never too Late to Learn

It is Never too Late to Learn
Mr Mngomezulu could not contain his joy when his wife Dr Thembeka Mngomezulu was awarded a Doctoral degree in Public Administration.

Dr Thembeka Mngomezulu (61), Deputy Director in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health was awarded a doctoral degree in Public Administration on 10 April for her thesis tiled: “Monitoring and Evaluation in Public Governance: A Case Study of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health”.

The thesis examined the effectiveness and efficiency of the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system in the provincial Department of Health using a combination of the M&E Theories and the Public Administration Models as the basic theoretical foundations. The study was supervised by Professor Purshottama Reddy of UKZN’s School of Management, Information Technology and Governance.

Mngomezulu’s zeal for success is evident in her achievements in various spheres of her life. She grew up in a home of eight siblings at Lourdes Mission in Umzimkhulu in the former Transkei. She was forced to leave school after obtaining a Junior Certificate to become a nurse in order to assist her single mother in bringing up her siblings.

Leaving school early was devastating to Mngomezulu and it created a void which, she knew, could only be filled by studying further.

She later pursued studies and completed matric in 1976; obtained a BA degree in Social Science in 1998; an Honours degree in Gender Studies in 2000; and completed studies for a Masters degree (Nursing Research) in 2009.

The negative publicity about service delivery in the provincial Department of Health around the same time as her appointment as a Deputy Director in the Directorate of Monitoring and Evaluation prompted her to investigate what could be done to improve the situation working within the M&E perimeters. Hence her doctoral study on M&E.

Mngomezulu is an inspiration to her six children and 10 grandchildren. She says the journey was not always smooth: ‘Sometimes it was a nightmare! Having a great support system from friends, colleagues, family and focusing on the reward kept me going - but it was not easy.  Most of all, the Almighty gave me enormous strength.’

Mngomezulu’s study was published in the 2013 Journal of the Association of Southern African Schools and Departments of Public Administration and Management.

On studying in her 50s she says: ‘Firstly, I had never thought of myself in terms of age so much that even when I say I am 61 years old I feel surprised (and very proud) that I am that old! I don’t feel it.’

‘Secondly, I wanted to demonstrate that having no doctoral degree (or any qualification) did not mean that I was not intelligent enough; it was only circumstantial,’ she added.

-        Hazel Langa

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Graduates Urged to be Ethical Leaders

Graduates Urged to be Ethical Leaders
Professor Cosmas Ambe.

Professor Cosmas Ambe, Head of the Nedbank Chair in Accountancy, University of Limpopo, delivered an inspiring Graduation address to graduands of the College of Law and Management Studies on 10 April during one of UKZN’s Graduation ceremonies.

The theme of his keynote address titled: “Ethical Leadership and Corporate Citizenship in the Context of King III” was relevant to new graduates who were on the threshold of entering the demanding employment sector as well as those who were economically active and already established in the public and private sectors.

The keynote address was centred on various important leadership principles which the late former President Nelson Mandela lived by.

Ambe used his address to appeal to graduates to practice ethical leadership at the workplace and to use as a benchmark important resources such as the King III Code of Corporate Governance which promotes the highest level of corporate governance in South Africa and focuses on Corporate Governance, Ethical Leadership and Corporate Citizenship.

He said: ‘Good governance is essentially about effective leadership. Leaders need to define strategy, provide direction and establish the ethics and values that will influence and guide practices and behaviour with regard to sustainability performance.  As current and future leaders, we look forward to your leadership in the application of ethical leadership and governance, especially in the public sector.’

‘As you approach the world of work, you need to uphold the code of professional ethics required of your profession and exercise the level of ethical leadership and governance to promote the legacy of Tata Madiba,’ he concluded.

Ambe commended the University for its contribution to the development of human capital in South Africa through the academic training imparted to its graduates.

Hazel Langa

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Aspirant Entrepreneur to Use Qualification to Unlock Her Potential

Aspirant Entrepreneur to Use Qualification to Unlock Her Potential
Aspirant entrepreneur Ms Taskeen Mohammed of Cupcake Couture PTY (LTD).

Young entrepreneur and Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship student Ms Taskeen Mohammed celebrated continuing her family legacy of academic excellence by graduating with a distinction on 10 April.

Being part of a family where both parents possess Doctoral degrees created high expectations for Mohammed but she was confident she would make them proud.

‘When we heard about my achievement screams of joy and happiness filled our home as we were thrilled to add to the family’s academic achievements. It is an amazing feeling to know your hard work and dedication to a course has provided you with a rewarding accomplishment. I view this as a stepping stone to even greater accomplishments,’ said Mohammed.

As the owner of Cupcake Couture PTY (LTD), a home business that specialises in cupcakes and wedding cakes Mohammed intends to utilise the knowledge she has acquired from the qualification to help her develop her entrepreneurial ambitions of running a successful bakery.

‘The course was a riveting experience that opened my eyes to a whole new world of business. The Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship brings together all the exciting concepts and practices of business into one classroom. It is a highly beneficial qualification to any business practitioner as it takes you back to the very basics of business,’ she said.

For her research, Mohammed got to explore the relatively new field of technology entrepreneurship under the guidance of School of Management, Information Technology and Governance academic, Dr Ziska Fields. The research examined the role of incubators and universities in technology entrepreneurship and their significance for the breeding and training of technology entrepreneurs.

Mohammed will present the journal article on her research at the 2014 IBC Conference in Namibia in August. The Conference affords participants the chance to trade and educate, to debate and connect, to challenge, strategise and innovate with the various companies and leaders shaping the market.

‘The paper specifically looks at trends and themes in technology entrepreneurship which is a relatively new area in South Africa.  Its findings suggested that universities within South Africa need to show greater involvement in assisting tech entrepreneurs to successfully develop and market their technology products.

‘I developed two conceptual models about how these institutions can be further involved in nurturing a tech entrepreneur,’ she said.

Fields congratulated Mohammed on her achievements and elaborated that comments her  paper were received from reviewers and amendments were being made.

‘Taskeen has been working very hard and the Conference paper gives her the opportunity to share what she has learnt in the Programme. The Conference will offer her valuable comments on her paper and networking opportunities,’ said Fields.

-        Thandiwe Jumo

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Durban Chamber Executive Graduates with an MBA Summa Cum Laude

Durban Chamber Executive Graduates with an MBA <em>Summa Cum Laude</em>
MBA summa cum laude pass for Mr Praneel Nundkumar, CFO of the Durban Chamber of Commerce.

For MBA summa cum laude graduate and Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Chief Operations and Financial Officer, Mr Praneel Nundkumar, studying for an MBA at the Graduate School of Business and Leadership was not only about personal development and refining his strategic skills but an opportunity to embark on research that would allow him to conceive innovative solutions to how businesses can function more effectively and efficiently.

In his thesis titled: “Corporate repositioning of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry”, Nundkumar decided to pursue research on corporate strategy and explored ways of helping the Durban Chamber reposition itself in the current business environment. Utilising the realisation that due to the constant change in the economic and business landscapes, many old organisations had not strategically responded to their changing environments and hence became irrelevant, Nundkumar decided that his research would be a valuable contribution towards the 158-year-old organisation repositioning itself through elements of the marketing mix thus ensuring the growth and sustainability of the organisation.

‘I researched various repositioning models and found that the organisation could be repositioned by repositioning price, place, promotion and product. I then conducted a survey of the 2 800 businesses in Durban who are Chamber members and made recommendations to the Chamber management. I was very tense about the dissertation component. Being a Chartered Accountant, one is not exposed to formal research techniques and thesis writing, so I was thrilled when I received my results,’ said Nundkumar.

While his Honours degree in Accounting and passion for business and entrepreneurship have paved a successful career path for Nundkumar as he has worked for organisations such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Imana Foods Group before the age of 30,  he counts completing his MBA and graduating summa cum laude as one of his biggest achievements. Even though he had to sacrifice family time and social time to keep up with the demands of the course the rewards of the soft and technical skills and the vast practical business knowledge attained during the pursuit of this qualification as well as getting appointed to his current position at the Chamber during his MBA studies were worth it.

‘When you are part of an intense course like the MBA, you really only have study colleagues to keep you motivated, focused and to help you through. Many fun and crazy memories were made with my MBA colleagues.  I made some great friends over the duration of my studies, who will always be great friends for years to come. I did have a life changing moment half way through my MBA studies, when I was offered a senior Executive position (CFO) at the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I had been working towards a position like this for years, but did not expect it to come at the age of 28. The MBA qualification played a large part in my appointment and continues to influence my everyday work life,’ said Nundkumar.

Durban Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Andrew Layman, said Nundkumar had a significant strategic role to play in the progress of the Chamber as it sought to update its systems and practices.

Nundkumar’s supervisor and UKZN Dean and Head of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance Professor Anesh Singh described him as a hard worker whose determination made him a pleasure to supervise.

‘Praneel put me under pressure in 2012 when he wanted me as a supervisor and said that he wanted to get distinctions for his dissertation and that I would be the person that would make that happen. I made it very clear that what he puts in is what he will get out - being a slave driver I pushed him hard but he was up to the challenge. I will be working with him to submit his work to relevant journals as it is worthy of publication,’ said Singh.

-        Thandiwe Jumo

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Graduate Trio Passionate about Service Delivery

Graduate Trio Passionate about Service Delivery
Graduate trio Mr Magashen Naidoo, Mr Sagaren Govender and Andile Gqaji.

Public Sector Managers and Master in Commerce: Leadership Studies graduates Mr Sagaren Govender, Mr Magashen Naidoo and Mr Andile Gqaji are ready to implement the skills they have obtained from their qualifications on leadership from UKZN to improve the lives of South African citizens.

The trio which is passionate about service delivery first embarked on a Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership and Management (PGDLM) offered by UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership to further develop their leadership skills of managers in 2012.Now they have all graduated with a Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies degrees which they completed in a minimum time of one year.

Govender graduated cum laude, his dissertation was titled: “The Role of Leadership in Healthcare Service Delivery at Addington Hospital”.

‘The achievement of these qualifications has prepared me to lead in any senior management position in the public sector, thus enhancing opportunities for promotions that may arise. I am able to think at strategic levels and will be able to make strategic decisions that could make a positive contribution in the attainment of service delivery goals in public sector organisations,’ he said.

Gqaji who is the Project Manager at the South African National Roads Agency titled his dissertation: “Investigating Perceptions of the Impact of Public Sector Leadership on Road Infrastructure Delivery”. He says his interest to develop his leadership was sparked by the observation that the world was moving away from management into leadership.

‘Being in the corporate world for about 14 years has made me notice that organisations are over-managed and very much under led. Consequently, that led me to consider a qualification in leadership. Among tertiary education institutions in South Africa, the University of KwaZulu-Natal was an obvious choice in assisting me in achieving my aspirations. Hence I enrolled for both qualifications,’ he said.

As his position of Project Manager at eThekwini Municipality’s P&I Projects deals with innovative solutions  for the City’s sustainability it is no surprise about Naidoo’s dissertation titled: “Information Climate Change Mitigation Policy: An eThekwini Municipality perspective”.

For Naidoo, the academic journey has not only enhanced their management skills and redefined their leadership styles but it has also cemented a mutually beneficial friendship that has motivated them from strength to strength during the course of their studies.

‘Once I was registered for the MCom I visualised graduating. There was no doubt in my mind of not completing within the stipulated timeframe. Being part of a small group of likeminded peers that kept in constant communication and kept each other focused on the goal played a huge role in our  success,’ he said.

Govender and Gqaji’s supervisor and UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership Lecturer Ms Cecile Gerwel Proches said the pair illustrated how postgraduate students need to balance the multiple demands facing them, such as fulfilling family obligations and being in a demanding job while still staying focused on the research.

‘Both Sagaren and Andile through their respective studies have contributed to the field of leadership and shown how critical studies of such a nature are to improve on our understanding of the unique complexities that we face in South Africa,’ she said.

Naidoo’s supervisor and Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Policy and Advocacy Manager, Dr Stan Hardman, described him as a student who had a real passion for his topic and was highly committed to making the experience an insightful learning curve for both student and supervisor.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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PhD Opens Doors for Graduate’s Academic Growth

PhD Opens Doors for Graduate’s Academic Growth
Dr Paul Green celebrating his achievement with his wife and children.

Durban University of Technology’s Head of the Finance and Information Management Department (Midlands campus), Dr Paul Green, says pursing a PhD has been the most rewarding and challenging experience of his academic life.

His reflections of his PhD journey are bittersweet because while his doctoral studies taught him valuable skills such as thinking out of the box, critical thinking and analysis as well as igniting his passion for research, it also meant sacrificing family time.

Green says although he is relieved the challenging experience has come to an end, the value the qualification adds to his academic career is worth the sacrifices.

‘I am driven by challenges in life and as an academic I was driven to pursue a PhD. As an academic it is imperative to be involved in research as I believe research informs one’s teaching. Secondly, on a personal level my career path required me to pursue a PhD and lastly, universities today require you to possess a PhD in order to lecture. Doing a PhD places an enormous amount of pressure on you and your family life and I was blessed to have family and a church that supported me throughout,’ said Green.

The purpose of Green’s dissertation titled: “A Systems Approach to the Evaluation of an Academic Department as a Service Provider at a University of Technology”, was to provide a conceptual framework for gaining a better understanding of evaluation of an academic department as a service provider at a university of technology. 

‘From the day my proposal was approved I worked consistently on my research.  I found the time that I was away from my research was the same amount of time I needed before I could return to the place where I had stopped. I must also mention that this achievement would not have been realised but for the grace of God, my supervisor Dr Stan Hardman and staff of the Graduate School of Business and Leadership,’ he said.

Supervisor Dr Stan Hardman said it had been great to work with Green as he was really committed to his work and appreciated the critical significance of systems and complexity science as it related to institutional change.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Alumnus adds a Doctorate to Impressive Academic Qualifications

UKZN Alumnus adds a Doctorate to Impressive Academic Qualifications
Dr Ayanda Vilakazi celebrating with his wife Malindi and daughter Nombuso.

‘People always ask me why I have studied at the University of KwaZulu-Natal since 1994 and have never changed universities. My response has always been that over the years, I have developed a deep sense of pride in UKZN and I believe it is the best university in the country in terms of content delivery, academic discipline, adherence to the code of good practice, and most importantly to always driving students to achieve more.’

So says doctoral graduate Mr Ayanda Vilakazi whose recent graduation marked his fifth qualification from UKZN.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Commerce Honours, a Diploma in Business Administration, a Masters of Business Administration and now a Doctorate in Business Administration.

Over a period of 20 years, this wealth of knowledge has translated to a successful career in the marketing and communications industry for Vilakazi who is currently the Head of Marketing and Communications of Coega Development Corporation.

‘After completing the MBA, I wanted to pursue doctorate studies in order to further develop my knowledge of public transport strategic marketing, understand the role of service quality as an important area of study, and contribute to a body of knowledge internationally in an effort to assist service quality practitioners (both operators and policy makers) improve public transport service, attract users, and provide solutions to the public transport conundrum in Johannesburg, and South Africa as a whole,’ said Vilakazi.

In his quest to enhance his career as an academic while simultaneously contributing to knowledge and practical and sustainable solutions to the public transport sector, Vilakazi has accrued an impressive résumé. He has worked for organisations such as Simba, Exxon Mobil South Africa, Colgate-Pamolive, Johannesburg Metrobus, the Road Accident Fund, the Automobile Association of South Africa, Metropolitan Life Limited and Lama Marketing and Advertising, among others.

Apart from being knowledgeable in both the public and private sector, Vilakazi’s passion lies in transport logistics and recently in economic development with a keen focus  on public transportation and maritime from a services perspective.

‘I am the current Chairperson of MC5 Shipping South Africa (Pty) Ltd, a maritime transport logistics company based in Cape Town. In my current position at Coega Development Corporation, I am also able to fulfil my interest in economic development and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into South Africa.’

For his dissertation titled: “Evaluating Service Quality in South African Passenger Transportation”, Vilakazi focused on the service quality dimensions of public transport, namely RECSA, to refer to the passengers’ perceptions of reliability, extent of service, comfort, safety, and affordability of the transport service, as relevant and important for public road transport. The aim of the study was to evaluate passengers’ perceptions of the quality of service by buses and minibus taxis utilising RECSA dimensions as important service dimensions.

‘The study of public road transport in Johannesburg is important because public transport provides the benefit of personal mobility and contributes to the Gross Domestic Product.

‘The minibus taxi industry in particular is estimated to contribute more than R30-billion to the GDP of South Africa – and provides economic participation to people who rely on public transport for their daily mobility needs.

‘I wish to use the insights gained during this research and apply it more broadly to transport solutions across South Africa,’ he said.

While his academic and business pursuits may monopolise most of his time, Vilakazi still makes time for family activities such as watching soccer with his nine-year-old son Ayanda Jnr, spending time with his wife of 11 years Malindi and grooming his 19-year-old daughter Nombuso who is currently a first year BCom student at UKZN to follow in her father’s footsteps.

-          Thandiwe Jumo

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Former President of UKZN Enactus Graduates with BAdmin Degree

Former President of UKZN Enactus Graduates with BAdmin Degree
Former President of UKZN Enactus, Mr Sesethu “Sethu” Sidzamba, has graduated with a BAdmin degree in Public Administration and Supply Chain Management.

Former President of UKZN Enactus, Mr Sesethu “Sethu” Sidzamba, has graduated with a BAdmin degree in Public Administration and Supply Chain Management.

Sidzamba, who was raised in Kliptown Square - an informal market in Soweto - was instilled with a strong sense of business acumen from an early age as his family ran a small to medium scale business, selling fruit and vegetables to the community.

After matriculating, Sidzamba registered for a Certificate in Business Administration at UKZN as he did not qualify for a Bachelor’s admission. He soon joined the mainstream Bachelor of Business Administration, and hasn’t looked back since!

He has represented the University abroad under the auspices of Enactus, an international student entrepreneurship organisation, and is currently an Academic Tutor for Public Sector Finance Management and a Brand Ambassador for eThekwini Metropolitan Youth Empowerment Platform Incubator.

In 2013, Sidzamba become an Alumnus of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre and was also awarded the KwaZulu-Natal Young Achiever Award in Rural Development. He previously served as a member of the Financial Literacy Association chaired by MEC for Finance in KwaZulu-Natal, Ms Ina Cronje.

Said Sidzamba: ‘This is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. It’s a key turning point in my life and in my immediate family’s life. My family is here from the Eastern Cape and Johannesburg to taste my slice of victory!’

He offers the following advice to students: ‘We can never say we have inherited an empty path because those ahead of us, our forefathers Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Mahatma Gandhi left a legacy of decisive leadership, and an enabling environment to aspire to greatness.’

Sidzamba is thankful to his family and friends for their support and constant prayer over the years. ‘I would also like to thank the Enactus team and leadership Mr Ndaba and Dr James for granting us an opportunity to engage communities and to better ourselves for life encounters.’

He also expressed gratitude to role players at the University for their support.

Sidzamba plans to read for a Masters in Public Governance in the near future. ‘My greatest passion dwells in government with a special focus on policy, governance and the development of local communities. I believe that our policy formulation and implementation is misdirected and needs competent and merit based public administrators. Dilution of politics is essential to enable good quality service delivery to our people.’

He is currently reading for a BCom Honours in Supply Chain Management at UKZN.

-       Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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