UKZN Graduates its First African Woman with a PhD in Leisure and Recreation
Dr Khumbuzile Khumalo, fondly known as KK, graduated from the College of Health Sciences with a PhD in Leisure and Recreation for her study titled, The Development of a Policy Framework for Physical Activity and Sport for Children with Disabilities in Schools in Disadvantaged Communities in KwaZulu-Natal. She is the first African Leisure and Recreation specialist to graduate with a doctorate in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and is a staff member in UKZN’s Discipline of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences.
Her study resulted in a policy framework for physical activity and sport for children with disabilities (CWDs) in schools in disadvantaged communities. ‘Provision of sport facilities and equipment suitable for CWDs requires a collaborative effort between the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) and community stakeholders to address long-standing barriers,’ said Khumalo.
In developing the policy framework, Khumalo ensured that CWDs and their families made significant contributions, thereby ensuring that their voices were heard. The framework will be presented to the DSR with the intention of it being adopted and implemented in KwaZulu-Natal; especially in schools based in poorly resourced communities.
‘I have a passion to work with people with disabilities. Currently, I am a member of the interim UKZN Division of Sport Union Executive Sport Organising Committee. Last year, we launched the UKZN Disability Sports and Leisure Association (UKZNDSLA). This association includes students with disabilities on all UKZN campuses.’
Khumalo is the proud mum of a son who graduated with his PhD in Genetics from Stellenbosch University in 2017. He is currently working in Norway.
‘I am the daughter of the late Ms N Mchunu and Mr A Khumalo. I was born in Ladysmith, Steadville Township. I enjoy reading, socialising, travelling, going to church, and participating in any recreational activity during my leisure time. I would like to thank all my family members, Bongiwe Gumede, colleagues, and Prophet Dr SB Radebe for their encouragement and inspiring words of support that enabled me to reach my final destination.’
Khumalo is most appreciative of her supervisors, Professors Rowena Naidoo and Verusia Chetty. ‘They were my beacons of hope when I wanted to give up. They believed in my passion for CWDs, and my ability to complete my PhD and supported me all the way.’
‘Khumalo’s PhD journey was one of many hardships, but her perseverance and dedication led to this long overdue moment, one which all prospective graduates and their supervisors anxiously anticipate. We believe that team work is key, and as supervisors we believe that supporting a candidate and making them believe in themselves is the key to succeeding,’ commented Naidoo and Chetty. Both work in the area of disability and rehabilitation and are excited to share KK’s policy framework with the relevant governing structures.
Words: MaryAnn Francis