After a career spanning 41 years in education, renowned scholar, psychologist and educationalist Professor Patrick Themba Sibaya is bidding farewell to his colleagues and students at the University of Zululand (UNIZULU).
Professor Sibaya’s retirement at the end of this month (August) marks the end of an era, which has seen him steadily rising through the ranks and serving the University with diligence in various capacities.
He joined the University in March 1974 as a researcher and over the years rose to various prominent positions which included Head of Department (Educational Psychology), Vice Dean at the Faculty of Education, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Research to currently serving as Senior Research Professor at the Faculty of Education.
Only three of the 41 years were spent outside the University of Zululand. That was the period between July 1983 to March 1986 in which Prof Sibaya served as the HOD at the erstwhile Umlazi College For Further Education. During this time he served as a liaison officer between the two institutions.
“Leaving UNIZULU after all these years creates a feeling of ambivalence,” Prof Sibaya said.
“What I will miss the most are the people I have interacted with for 41 years. I will miss the students and the larger community of Dlangezwa. We arrived here as young people and it was this community that literally brought us up”
He continued: “You cannot avoid mixed feelings, yes, time has come to withdraw from public life but at the same time the fear of the unknown is there. I am losing friendship to establish a new pattern of life that creates ambivalence. It is not easy”
He was full of gratitude and praises for the UNIZULU saying if it wasn’t for the University he would not have experienced international and national recognition as an academic.
“What stands out for me was the opportunity I had to introduce academic degrees. I had an opportunity to do that and I did”
The 65-year-old Professor, who holds a PhD from Stellenbosch University, is one of the most admired academics at the University. He has been described by his colleagues as “a shining example of commitment to his job of teaching and a ray of sunshine to all who have met with him, stayed and worked with him”.
However Prof Sibaya is going to continue playing a role in education as he is currently serving as a PhD Mentor at the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) in South Africa.
He said he would also explore the possibility of going into private practice as a psychologist saying such a move would ensure he continues serving the community, something he is passionate about.
Prof Sibaya has been involved in the authorship and co-authorship of at least 11 books on various subjects including mental health, teaching and the training of professional psychologists.
A widely published author, he has immensely contributed articles to scientific journals which include the Scientific Journal of Psychology and Journal of Education and Training among others.
He has played a mentoring role to many academics, supervising 41 Master’s degree students and about 7 Doctoral candidates. He has served many universities in S.A and USA as an external examiner for Masters and PhDs.
In terms of curricular development he introduced MA Counselling, MA Research and MEd Educational Psychology Degree programmes.
As a leader in National Professional Development, he was the President of Psychological Association of South Africa.