It is Never too Late to Learn
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