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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 Mr Luphelo Hopa, (Project Administrator at Gender-Justice, Health and Human Development and RADLA Research and Doctoral Leadership Academy).

Q: Kindly tell me about your role at DUT?

A: “I am the Project Administrator working for Professor Cheryl Potgieter who heads the Gender-Justice, Health and Human Development and the Research and Doctoral Leadership Academy (RADLA). Given, that we do research, policy engagement and interventions in Gender-justice and Human Capacity development, my primary role is to facilitate and coordinate all administrative and networking functions of research projects as well as workshops and other work which we are involved in. I am the ‘face’ of the projects or the first person whom external people engage with. Given, that I have a Masters’ degree in Public Policy from a university in South Korea and have worked at coordinating both local and international projects, I bring all my past experience to my current role. However, I have had to learn very fast about issues related to Gender-Justice but the learning has contributed to me growing as a person.”

Q: How long have you been in that role?

A: “I started in March 2020, just before the country went into Lockdown.”

Q: Please describe yourself in a few words?

A: “I would like to think I am a down to earth, approachable man who is focussed on his goals both professionally and personally.”

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

A: “It has been very difficult fighting with an invisible enemy, but one does not have a choice but to observe all COVID-19 protocols. I struggled a bit with working from home at the beginning, but now I am used to the new normal.”

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

A: “One honestly does not have a choice but to find ways to manage their anxiety levels. At least now my mom is fully vaccinated. I was mostly worried about her.”

Q: What is your daily motivation?

A: “My family is my motivation. They have always been a solid support structure to me, it is only fair that I return the favour.”

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

A: “I normally wake up at 5:30am and by 6:00am, I am already at the gym till 7:30 AM. I prefer going to the gym in the mornings rather than afternoon, since work can sometimes get so hectic that I don’t get a chance to go in the evenings. Then I start working from 8:30am till 16:30pm but I am always available in the evenings when necessary.”

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

A: “ It is extremely important. We come from different environments. Some of the people have sickly parents/elderly with comorbidities whom we should try and protect them from the virus. As young people, we need to ensure that we don’t spread the virus to those that are at high risk of dying from COVID-19. I had the vaccine on the first day that it was available to the 18-34 year-old cohort.”

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

A: “I love being in the outdoors so I enjoy playing sports like tennis, a bit of boxing, gym and hiking. I am originally from the King Williams Town recently renamed Qonce in the Eastern Cape and I was exposed to some of these sports as a young boy.”

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

A: “My wish would be that there would be no Gender Based Violence and the world would be a safe place for girls and women. And on a lighter note …. win the Powerball.”

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