Father and daughter Dr Mthokozisi Ntuli and Nonhlakanipho received their degrees together at UKZN’s virtual graduation ceremony – dad a PhD in Higher Education and daughter a Bachelor of Social Science in Housing.
Congratulating his daughter, Mthokozisi said: ‘The world is waiting for her to make a meaningful contribution to the development of South Africa and the globe at large. Use your knowledge and leadership capabilities Nonhlakanipho to positively impact the lives of South Africans.’
Nonhlakanipho says she was humbled to share the milestone with her father who has always valued and preached the importance of education and lived by it. ‘I am extremely proud of my dad and love him so much. He is an amazing study buddy and wonderful father. Thank you to him for always being willing to share knowledge, and using it as a tool to build and mould me into who I am today. I now understand the power in my name, Nonhlakanipho – Queen Mother of Wisdom. I promise to live up to it,’ she said.
In his research, Mthokozisi, who is HOD: Student Development at Mangosuthu University of Technology in Durban, analysed the interplay between Student Activism and University Governance in three selected universities in South Africa.
He found that students had varied motives to engage in activism, including influence from involvement in activism at a secondary school level and to assist fellow students who had problems with university access. They faced multiple university specific issues such as unaffordable fees for poor students, insufficient student financial aid, inadequate and lack of conducive student housing, and poor catering.
‘University is a microcosm of a wider society and activism reflects what is happening in larger society generally. Students use both formal and informal activism to address issues. Social media enables a large number of students and people to communicate easily and rapidly regarding activism,’ said Mthokozisi.
‘Leadership, governance and management styles in the selected universities were generally democratic and participative with a few instances where university management teams acted unilaterally in decision-making. However, according to the findings, when students raise that, management corrects it by consulting with students,’ explained Mthokozisi.
He said while the relationships between student activism and university governance were regulated by the procedures, rules and regulations of the universities, these kinds of relationships were difficult to categorise as fully cooperative or confrontational, such as when negotiations started antagonistically and then became reconciliatory towards the end.
He suggested that existing models ‘do not encapsulate recent forms of student activism and hence a new model was developed called unbounded student activism’.
Both father and daughter thanked their family and friends for their ongoing support during their studies and advised other students to stay committed and work hard.