In 2011 Ziyanda Mwanda volunteered to work at the annual Careers Indaba at Masiphumelele library, which is where she came to hear about Masicorp. At the time she was in the second year of a BSc Biotechnology course at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). She had a particular interest in forensic science, but sadly her studies were not going well due to a family illness that had forced her to leave her residence and return to Masiphumelele. She found herself working part-time and having to make the long commute by minibus and train to the campus, and the travel was catching up with her as she failed two second year modules.
Fortunately Masicorp stepped in after being impressed by both her perseverance in the face of adversity and impressive results at high school and in the first year of university. With the stability of the Masicorp bursary and associated mentoring support she was able to return to full time study. Her results improved straight away, and she both recovered her past failures and completed the course on time. We were delighted when she graduated in 2012.
We met up with Ziyanda again this week to see how the degree has changed her life. Although she still lives in Masiphumelele, Ziyanda is working as a research assistant at the UWC School of Public Health (SoPH) at their campus in Cape Town. Ziyanda developed an interest in facilitating the Google groups for the Masters courses offered at SoPH. She is developing e-content for the courses and assisting the students in using google groups and software such as dropbox to store and present their work.
SoPH is well-known for its flexible, modular courses and Ziyanda’s work helps students from rural areas to access the learning material remotely. Many of the students are based overseas, in other African countries. Such is the quality of Ziyanda’s work, she will be representing the university at an international conference to be held in India later this year. Later this year she also intends to return to study by enrolling on a postgraduate course in E-Learning at UWC.
Ziyanda has come a long way since first getting involved with Masicorp. We are delighted with her success and would also like to thank her for giving back to the programme by offering to give guidance and tutoring to our current biotechnology students. It remains a popular degree option, and Ziyanda is a perfect role model for the students from Masiphumelele.