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The vastly experienced and versatile Dr Celani Nyide who is an academic, motivational speaker, apostle, reformer and rural community development practitioner is passionate about driving the transformation agenda.

“I aspire to be a world-class transformational leader who is an inspiration to many, particularly those coming from the marginalized backgrounds. My passion is, therefore, to drive the transformation agenda through my engagement at DUT and the communities I serve as a community development practitioner,” stated Dr Nyide.

Dr Nyide is a Senior Lecturer and Research Coordinator at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) within the Department of Finance and Information Management (Midlands). He is a member of the NRF Masters and Doctoral Institutional Review Committee and a member of the International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences. To date, he has published 18 peer-reviewed articles in accredited journals. His biggest highlight in life was completing his Doctorate Degree in record time (2 years).

“I obtained my PhD in 2016. I was pursuing my doctoral studies while I was diagnosed with depression. I navigated around the challenges through the support I received from my then HOD, Prof Paul Green, who made sure that my workload was eased so that I can focus on my studies. Moreover, my research supervisor, Dr Lawrence Lekhanya, was instrumental in ensuring that I focus on my research amid the challenges that I was going through at the time,” he said.

He went on to say that his research interests are multi-disciplinary. However, it leans more towards Environmental Management Accounting (EMA); taking into consideration that at the moment, various eminent environmental issues are threatening the future of humankind; and EMA contributes to driving the sustainability agenda and responsible business practices.

Dr Nyide has received three awards to date for his research contribution namely: Faculty Researcher of the Year Award – 2016, Junior Researcher of the Year Award – 2019, and Faculty Researcher of the Year Award, Platinum Category – 2019.

Instead of changing anything, Dr Nyide said if he had power, he would invest in programmes that promote a sustainable rural economy.

“This has the potential of increasing employment opportunities in rural areas, reducing regional income disparities, curbing rural-urban migration, and reducing poverty at its very source,” he added.

When describing a scene of his vision for the future, Dr Nyide explained that from childhood his aspirations have always revolved around community development through education.

“My passion for community development is inspired by the following invaluable point once made by Dr Nelson Mandela: ‘education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation’. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another,” he explained.

“These words always reverberate in my heart and drive my long-term agenda of becoming a community builder, particularly relevant in rural communities yet recognised globally. South African rural societies remain some of the most impoverished societies in the world, and access to employment, education, land, housing, health services and other essential resources still divide them from their urban neighbours. To this end, I have identified a need for the development of the Centre for Rural Development in my village, Oshabeni Location. The main objective of this centre will be to promote community development through building individual skills and community solidarity. The centre will aim to encourage the community’s self-reliance and hence, build confidence in the community’s ability to control its ultimate destiny,” he added.

Dr Nyide also provides skills and capacity development programmes to several NPOs namely: Uncedo Community Organisation, Youth Academic Development Agency, and Isibani Development Agency.

With over 15 years of experience, one of Dr Nyide’s lessons is to never underestimate students.

“Throughout my lecturing career, I have always perceived that our lecture rooms are filled with future leaders and the “Albert Einstein’s”, not just students. I have witnessed time and again that we indeed contribute to producing graduates who in the future assume positions of responsibility in the corporate sector and our communities,” he said.

Dr Nyide highlighted that If he had a chance for a “do-over” in life, he would not necessarily do anything differently as he is of the view that we are the sum of our experiences. Positive or negative, his experiences have made him who he is today.

Dr Nyide who is described as someone who is focused, disciplined and a go-getter, mentioned that with all that he knows now, he would tell his younger self to be patient.

“I tend to be impatient at times. With all that I know now, I would have advised my younger self to take things easy and be a little patient. That way I would have avoided a lot of unnecessary stress,” he said.

Dr Nyide stated that his three must-read books are: The power of your subconscious mind by Dr Joseph Murphy, Dreamers never sleep by Pat Mesiti and Success one day at a time by John C Maxwell.

When sharing his message to the young people of South Africa he said they must never allow reality to get in the way of their dreams.

“There is a popular and profound story in the Bible (1 Samuel, chapters 16 – 17) about David, a shepherded boy who killed a giant called Goliath. Even though there were leaders in the land (of Israel), they failed to deal with Goliath. One of the reasons why they failed is that they were relying on old and outdated strategies to deal with their existing challenges. The nation’s problem (Goliath) was solved innovatively by David, a young man,” he said.

“The point I am driving home is this: I acknowledge that there are mammoth challenges facing our country. These challenges can be addressed by the active participation of young people in socio-economic activities. Young people must refuse to live in the world of broken dreams and recognise that this land is full of possibilities,” he concluded.

Pictured: Dr Celani Nyide

Sindisiwe Ndlovu

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