Zimbabwean Student Graduates with a PhD in Sports Science
‘It’s a great achievement and I feel privileged, blessed and honoured to have reached this milestone. I intend to pursue research further and perhaps progress to a more fulfilling role in academics and beyond,’ said Dr Cecil Tafireyi, who graduated with a PhD in Health Science (Sports Science).
Supervised by Professor Jeanne Martin Grace, Tafireyi investigated Physical Activity (PA) and Health Promotion (HP) guidelines for Eswatini University students.
‘I have a great interest in physical education and health promotion, hence my future aspirations rest in public health global roles,’ said Tatireyi (42), who is from Zimbabwe.
Tafireyi’s study aimed to establish the healthy lifestyle habits of university students in Eswatini and create intervention guidelines for them. ‘Results from the measurements of healthy habits confirmed that Eswatini university students live unhealthy lifestyles and do not meet recommended daily requirements,’ he said. ‘As a result, the study created the first evidence-based PA and HP guidelines for Eswatini University students.’
Tafireyi’s results were published in two articles in international and peer-reviewed accredited journals.
He said his study was the first of its kind in Eswatini to create evidence-based PA and HP guidelines for university students.
According to Tafireyi, he had an amazing study experience at UKZN! ‘This awesome experience was mainly due to the excellent work ethic of my supervisor Professor Jeanne Martin Grace, whom I worked with for four years. She led me to understand research in simple and effective terms and guided me in writing professionally.
‘After completing my master’s degree under her supervision, I convinced myself to study for a doctorate at UKZN, again under her supervision.’
He also acknowledged the financial support he received from UKZN through a College of Health Sciences PhD scholarship and a research scholarship. ‘I did not have to worry about financial issues at all during my studies,’ he said.
Tafireyi, currently a sports teacher and part-time lecturer at the Sifundzani International School/Euro Africa Campus in Eswatini, is compiling proposals for postdoctoral fellowships and intends to take leading roles in academia and public health organisations at an international level.
After completing four degrees and three diplomas aligned with sports science and physical education, Tafireyi believed that a doctorate in health sciences would define and position him better globally. ‘I got interested in health promotion, given the global need for public health professionals. The programme suited my background, experience and future aspirations.’
Words: Nombuso Dlamini