Article by Linford Molaodi
Pictures by Phumelele
This an expression of Phumelele Mkhize, a 28 year old township-nurtured educator who has just received her Master’s degree (M.Ed) qualification in Educational Psychology at University of Johannesburg’s Auckland Park Campus.
Fostered at early childhood by single mother, Phumelele never permitted life hurdles to deter her from realizing her dreams.
As an average student who massively struggled in Mathematics and Science subject; she had never received any certificate in high school.
Her marks disadvantaged her acceptance at the university after she had completed matric at Waverly Girls High School. She then had to be enrolled in BA Humanities extended program at UJ which she completed in 2012. In 2013 she studied Post-Graduate in Education; and continued with B.Ed Honours in Educational Psychology as a full-time student in 2014.
Real Life Experience at the practicals for Phumelele
Phumelele subsequently she practiced as a temporary English and Life Skills teacher in 2015 in two private schools; where she had encountered workplace dynamics. “The kids were amazing but parents a nightmare. Internalized racism and constantly having to back up your work to prove your worth. I won children’s hearts and through which I won their parents’ hearts also. A bitter sweet moment when I left and the school was in tears upon my departure”
Same year 2015 she enrolled in Masters’ degree. In 2017 she did her internship as a psychologist as part of her degree requirements at Ububele, an NGO she worked for. Currently, she works as a learner support educator.
She is committed to enhancing her skills in training and also administering therapy and psycho-educational assessments. In pursuit of such opportunities, she wishes to be afforded opportunities to work with multiple organisations and institutions that provide psychological services. These shall serve as great milestone and fundamental foundation for her long term dream to open education-enhanced crèche which would also serve in provision of psychological assistance to communities.
Her background a source of her drive
Some of Phumelele’s drags include observing her mother having to work abnormally overtime to ensure that she (Phumelele) and her brother received best education.
Just like many young people in South Africa, Phumulele also saw her father 10 years after parents separated. She describes the process of father-daughter bond as one of the greatest challenges but doable, in time.
The passionate registered educational psychologist with excessive interest in motivational speaking and also empowerment encourages South African youth; especially females never to be deterred by stumbling blocks of life. They should “never give up and continuously” believe in themselves.
She attributes her success to self-esteem and perseverance.
Phumulele Mkhize, is looking forward to finding employment as an educational psychologist in order to make more impact in South African schools, especially those based in disadvantaged areas of the country.