The Durban University of Technology (DUT) continues to commend all its essential service workers for their dedication and commitment in providing services to the DUT community during the COVID-19 pandemic. DUT’s Communications team’s Waheeda Peters spoke to Administration Assistant: Department of Institute of Systems Science, Samukelisiwe Fortunate Nhlabathi who has been at DUT since 2016.
Q:Kindly tell me your role at the department?
“I work for the Department of Institute of Systems Science, I do administrative work, assist in making sure that everything in the department is efficient and runs smoothly. I also do assist in all the projects that are run by our department.”
Q:How long have you been at DUT in that role?
“I have been working with the Institute of Systems Science since 2016, on a permanent basis. Although I started working in the department while I was still an undergraduate student in 2012.”
Q:How would you describe yourself?
“I am an introvert but once you get to know me I am outspoken. I am generally passionate about everything that I do. Also, I think that I am overprotective of my character, I’m always trying to make sure that I am not being misunderstood (which I somehow think that it is a time waster).”
Q:How do you cope with student administrative requests being made at your department, especially with COVID-19?
“In this department we deal with postgraduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research fellows, honorary researchers to mention but a few. So we have been mostly operating online and via emails.”
Q:What are your main challenges that you face daily?
“I deal with people from different areas of expertise, different demands/requests, different personalities, different countries even, so it is easy to get distracted and lose focus.”
Q:How do you de-stress?
“I live with my four-year-old son, so I answer hundreds of questions daily. I also listen to music and play board games. When I have time and money, I pamper myself (like going for a massage).”
Q:A typical day entails…
“I normally start my work at 8:00am, collaboratively plan my day, making sure that the most urgent work gets done first and making sure to follow on matters that are outstanding.”
Q:If you had one wish what would it be?
“It would be to create a better educational system in South Africa. A system that offers critical skills to learners at an early stage.”
Q:What do you treasure the most in life?
“My loved ones.”
Q:What are your favourite things to do when not at work?
“Cooking, playing chess and reading. I am currently reading the Atomic Habit by James Clear. I like traveling and exploring. Also, as a hobby I do cycling and I used to ice skate.”
Q:Your favourite part of your day?
“I am a night owl.”
Q:Are you a radio, series or reality TV person?
“I am a radio and reality TV person.”
Q:Your practical advice or mantra that you follow and would impart to students is?
“Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”