University “Love Birds” Earn PhDs
It was love at first sight 10 years ago when Dr Refiloe Khoase met Dr Patrick Ndayizigamiye at UKZN. They got married after a three-year courtship and have now just been awarded PhDs.
When they met in 2007, Ndayizigamiye explained to Khoase that he did not intend to leave UKZN before getting a PhD and to be his wife, she would have to do the same. And that’s more or less how it happened!
Part-time Lecturer in the College of Law and Management Studies, Khoase said her intention had been to go as far as masters, but her husband had the final say.
Khoase’s study titled: “The Influence of Public and Private Supporting Institutions on Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Development: A Comparative Study between Lesotho and South Africa”, investigated the influence of the public and private supporting institutions regarding businesses start-up and sustainable growth.
Ndayizigamiye tackled a study titled: “Adoption of Mobile Health Technologies for Public Health Care in Burundi”, which investigated the potential use of mobile health technologies to provide public healthcare services in Burundi.
Ndayizigamiye’s study was funded through the NRF Innovation Scholarship which at times he shared with his wife.
The couple balanced studies and family life by taking turns and “working shifts” in terms of assisting with household errands and taking care of their children. They sacrificed family holidays. ‘Everyone in our family feels blessed and motivated - our degree is their degree,’ said Khoase.
They had words of encouragement for other married couples busy with doctoral studies. ‘Be patient towards one another, focus on each other’s strengths and help one other. See the PhD journey as a joint venture, not a competition. Speak positively about each other’s work,’ advised Ndayizigamiye.
They agreed the academic journey had been a challenge but as Christians they had forged on, reminding themselves always that: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’