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As of 18 July 2022, the Durban University of Technology (DUT) staff and students have physically returned to campus after the relaxation of the public health mandates and the COVID-19 restrictions. To get insight on getting back to the “new” normal, DUT’s Communications team Zanele Mashaba spoke to Tabisa Mnyande, Lecturer at the Department of Applied Management.


Q: Kindly tell me about your role and the duration you have been at DUT? 

A: “I have been with DUT since 1996 when it was ML Sultan Technikon back then, I worked at the Department of Finance for 14 years. Currently, I am a lecturer at the Department of Applied Management.”

Q: How has it been like to physically return to campus after the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions?   

A: “It has been good, wonderful to be exact, I always preferred working on campus. It took me sometime to vaccinate because I was not comfortable especially with the issues that were being mentioned in the media. Nevertheless, I won’t lie working from home was a blessing because I was able to look after my family and do my work without travelling and having to spend a lot of money on petrol.

Q: What are some of your coping mechanisms, helping you adapt to working/studying on site?

A: “I didn’t really need any coping mechanisms as such. During that time or prior to vaccinations being compulsory, I was already working on site.”

Q: What do you miss the most about working/studying online? 

A: “With online lectures, attendance was good and things like assessments were much easier to administrate.”

Q: What is one thing that people do not know about you?

A: “I do a lot of student counselling with students who come to me with serious challenges they are facing in their lives. My philosophy is that if I am able to change one student’s life with what I am saying either in class or during a counselling session, then I have truly done what I have been placed on this earth for.”

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

A: “I love the gym, even though it has been a hassle in the last two years, I try to go at least three times a week. As one gets older it becomes difficult to keep your body in shape, so I have to put in a lot of effort. I will not lie to you it’s a struggle. I also love Hallmark or romantic movies.”

Q: How do you plan to impact lives at DUT and surrounding?

A: “DUT has different platforms or tools that it has in place for us (students and staff) to make a positive impact in the communities surrounding us. We have two projects that we are currently involved in with some of my colleagues in my department. One project is with Impendle called Isithunjwana Primary school. Another project is in Eshowe with local small business owners. I am blessed just being a part of these wonderful projects. Teaching our students and communities the importance of entrepreneurship is my passion at the moment, we want to ensure that as our students leave the university, they are equipped with information that will assist them in sustaining their livelihoods and their families since the country has a high unemployment rate.”

Q: What is your daily motivation? 

A: “Trying to see the good in people as much as possible.  It’s not easy and I sometimes fail in doing it, but I try by all means to remind myself that we reap what we sow.”

Q: What are your future goals with DUT?

A: “To complete my PhD by 2024. Be more involved in research based on how we can use entrepreneurship to alleviate the joblessness of graduates are facing, working together with innobiz on that one. Continue to empower our students with information and knowledge about the importance of embracing entrepreneurial thinking in everything they do.”

Q: If you were granted one wish, what would it be?

A: “I wish I would be able to spend quality time with my family travelling, first seeing our beautiful country, then our amazing continent and then the rest of the word, strictly in that order.”

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