As South Africa continues to celebrate August as women’s month, the University of Venda (UNIVEN) celebrates the achievements of female staff, students, and other stakeholders. Women are strongly encouraged to learn from each other and from those who worked hard, failed but never gave up in achieving their goals. It is another chance for women to get motivated, inspired and to unlock their own strength and determination to make a positive change in their family, community, and country.
Dr Nyawasedza Phellecy Lavhelani from Dzimauli, Ha Rambuda Tshiwangamatembele, Limpopo Province, extended her gratitude to the Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication for choosing her as one of the women to be celebrated during this year’s Women’s month.
Dr Lavhelani started her primary education at Tshavhadinda and proceeded to Tshathovhela High School at Dzimauli, Matshavhawe where she passed standard five (5) by then. She matriculated at Rambuda Secondary in 1988. Dr Lavhelani told the team of writers that she was born in a disadvantaged background with lack of parental support, but she had always loved education from an early age.
Her first employment was in 1994 as a Typist Clerk at the University of Venda which was a six months contract. At that time, she only had Grade 12 and Computer certificates. Her contract of employment was extended by another six months and from there she was employed on a permanent basis at the School of Law, under the Legal Aid Clinic. In February 2010, she was employed at the University of Venda’s Legal Aid Clinic as a Secretary and continued to further her studies with passion.
In May 2010, Dr Lavhelani progressed from being a secretary to the position of Chief Admin Officer under the Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning at the University of Venda. She served in this role until July 2022. She pointed that it was a blessing to her as the minimum requirements for the position was a master’s degree in Administration. She attested that education is a key to success and hard work does pay. (Eceles J.S, Wigfield A, Schiefele U (1998) outline that there are no shortcuts to any place worth going).
Dr Lavhelani is currently serving in her new role as a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, under OR Tambo Institute of Governance. She mentioned that the University of Venda is a rightful employer to work for, especially if you are eager to learn.
Dr Lavhelani completed a Bachelor of Administration from the University of Venda in 2002. She said “this journey was not easy as I was married and responsible for looking after the whole family, work demand and being a student as well. My principle was to complete all programmes I had started, and I needed to uplift my background, because I understood the value of education. I acknowledge that education plays a pivotal role in all our lives and paves way for all of us to reach our highest aspirations. I have realised that education is the medium that gives us the skills, techniques, information, and knowledge to know, understand and respect the duties we have towards our society, families, and the nation. Therefore, the magnitude of the importance of education in life is huge as well as multifold”.
She completed an Honours Degree in Administration at the University of Venda in 2003, while working as a typist clerk at the same department.
In 2005, she obtained a Masters Degree in Development and Management (Course work) from North-West University (Distance learning). “This means that education is not exclusive, and it accommodates everyone. I suspended most of the social life activities so that I do what I love, and I focused on achieving my goals,” she added.
In 2011, Dr Lavhelani completed a Master of Administration with the University of Venda (Research). She said, “I took this advantage so that I could comprehend research and it was a way of preparing my journey towards PhD as well as to develop and sharpen my research skills”.
She also obtained a BTech degree in Labour Relations Management from the University of South Africa. “What stood out for me was to get a better opportunity as my position was a secretary with two (2) Master’s degrees at the University of Venda.
Dr Lavhelani obtained a PhD in (Administration: Public Administration) from the University of Fort Hare in 2017. “I can confirm that this journey towards my PhD was not easy, and it needs discipline, passion, and commitment. When I study, I do not see obstacles and I see education as a solution to my future”.
During the 2022 academic year, Dr Lavhelani registered for a Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education (PGDip in HE) with the University of Johannesburg to acquire teaching pedagogy skills.
According to her, she has published ten (10) research papers in DHET accredited journals and reviewed five (5) papers with different journals while she was working as a Chief Admin Officer. “I view education as a weapon and as the air we breathe because it is our weapon to conquer the world. Being educated enables one to make an informed decision and to have a voice within the society. Moreover, education is the process of acquiring the body of knowledge and skills that people are expected to have in a society”.
Dr Lavhelani is also involved in community engagement activities. She said she always motivates youth in churches and local communities on the importance of Education.
Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 16 August 2022