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The Durban University of Technology (DUT) continues to commend all its essential workers for their dedication and commitment in providing services to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. DUT’s Communications team’s Waheeda Peters spoke to Andile Dube, Faculty of Arts and Design’s Information and Communications Officer. 

Q: Kindly tell me about your role at DUT?  

A: “I am the Faculty of Arts and Design’s Information and Communications Officer. My role is to ensure that the faculty is adequately represented inside the DUT community and outside- this is done by working closely with the university’s communications department. This means writing articles on the activities of the faculty as well as highlighting achievements by our staff and students. I am the Editor of the faculty’s internal online magazine, Softcopy which we launched in 2015. I also plan and co-organise the faculty’s events, namely, the first-year student orientation, FoAD Staff Recognition and Research Awards, DUT Arts and Design Digital Festival, FoAD Entrepreneurship Week, and Dean’s Dialogue Series, among others. I am the content creator and admin for the faculty’s social media platforms. I am responsible for ensuring that the information on the faculty’s website page is up to date and also updating the SharePoint portal. I am also the student recruiter for the faculty. This means attending open weeks in high schools and other functions that the faculty gets invited to. I have also served in a number of steering committees in the institution namely, the First Year Student Experience and currently the Student Entrepreneurship Festival. I’ve also served as a board member for the DUT Arts Gallery.”

Q: How long have you been in that role?  

A: “I have been in this role since 2015.”

Q: Describe yourself in a few words?  

A: “I’m very boring-to be honest. However, I have a wicked sense of humour, I enjoy a good laugh. I am down to earth, I am hard-working, loyal, caring and thoughtful. I’m a student of the universe and a lover of life.”

Q: How has it been like working during COVID-19?  

A: “It’s been extremely challenging and frustrating at times. In my role as Information and Communications Officer I work with people quite a lot and even though I am an introvert by nature, I enjoy meeting different people and the interactions. However, COVID-19 has meant that one has had to learn other means of interacting. For instance, instead of a face-to-face interview, it now has to be via email or telephone, instead of an in-contact event, it now has to be virtual. I have embraced the changes quite well I would say.” 

Q: How do you deal with the fear of contracting COVID-19 and losing loved ones due to this virus?  

A: “I ensure that I follow all the health protocols at all times and I encourage family and friends to do the same.  Fortunately, I have not lost a loved one through COVID-19 but the uncertainty of the future is very uncomfortable and can sometimes be overwhelming but I try to be positive. My heart breaks for everyone that has lost a loved one or has suffered in any form because of the Coronavirus.”

Q: What is your daily motivation?  

A: “I think by nature I am an optimistic person. It also helps that I am spiritual so I try to see positivity in the midst of darkness. So, I would say my daily motivation is that I am not dead, I am alive, therefore as long as there is still breath in my body I have to press forward. I just think one has to be stoic and get on with things.”

Q: Please take me through a normal day in your life?   

A: “The first thing I do when I wake up is watch the news or read online newspapers while having a cup of coffee. I am on my emails very early in the morning and late at night. I usually eat breakfast at the office while working. I will have afternoon tea with cake in-between meetings. I write a lot so I am usually at my desk writing until I leave the office. I get home late in the evening and do my masters’ degree work or be on the telephone with friends and family. I have a rigid routine, so it’s either I am at the office or my place working.”

Q: What are your thoughts about the vaccine and its importance to students and staff?  

A: “I can’t wait for everyone to be vaccinated so things can slightly go back to normal. The vaccine is very important to us all and I would encourage everyone to take it when their turn comes. If we want things to go back to normal again or close to normal, we have to take the jab. I am looking forward to taking it when my turn comes. I am hopeful that it will work and protect us against COVID-19.”

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

A: “I have just recently joined the gym, so I try to go there as much as I can. Or I watch documentaries or try to catch up on sleep because balancing work, my studies, life and or just trying to keep sane and to be present is not easy.”

Q: If you had one wish what would it be?  

A: “Difficult one to answer, but to be whole, in a sense that I am happy, content, present, fulfilled and at peace with my life.”

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