Mjadu Advances his Knowledge with Honours Degree

Love is one of the most powerful emotions which, when expressed, gives those on the receiving end the strength and courage to achieve anything they put their minds to.

Phiwayinkosi Mjadu, the coordinator of the Disability Unit within the University of Zululand’s (UNIZULU) Student Services Department, strongly believes in the aforementioned notion, most especially when concerning those who live with disabilities.

Advocating for the rights of people with disabilities is very close to his heart. He was told that when he was close to turning three years old, he struggled to walk. He eventually learned how to walk from observing his younger sibling. This piece of information has made 50-year-old Mjadu sensitive to issues affecting people with disabilities.

Mjadu is a father to five adorable children, two boys and three girls, and a husband to Nontokozo kaMadondo Mjadu, with whom he has been married for eighteen years. He was born and bred in Nkonjane area, KwaDlangezwa.

After obtaining his junior teaching degree from UNIZULU, he occupied several positions, first as a teacher at Umvoti High School in Greytown in 1996; then admissions officer in 2003; and special needs officer in 2005, both at UNIZULU. In 2009 he assumed a teaching position at Qhakaza High School but somehow, it felt like something was missing. He longed to be of service to students with disabilities. He therefore decided to go back to UNIZULU in 2016, to now work in its newly formed Disability Unit.

Because of the love he has for his clients and his desire to understand and support them better, Mjadu decided to advance his education in 2019. He registered for a Bachelor of Education Honours in Support Services in the Department of Education Psychology at UNIZULU. He received his degree during the recent graduation week.

“I wanted to equip myself for my job because this is not just a job but a service to students,” he said.

Indeed, he feels he acquired valuable knowledge from the modules in the academic programme. One of the modules he enjoyed was Inclusive Education. The module argues that no child or student should be left behind but that they should be treated equally.

Like any other student, Mjadu experienced challenges. These ranged from his age to studying during a pandemic. “Studying at this age on its own is a nightmare, but [what] was worse [was that] one had to [adapt to] online lectures and online assessments,” Mjadu admitted.

Throughout the mentioned challenges, all credit goes to his family for their continued encouragement as well as his classmates for always supporting him.

He hopes that obtaining this degree will encourage his children to also strive to grow academically. Mjadu is currently working on a proposal for the master’s degree that he is planning to enrol for.

– James Thwala

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