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Empowering success through breaking bearers of disability

Shingirai Makosa, born and raised in Zimbabwe, excelled in his academic pursuits from an early age. Despite the challenges of a single-parent household, he consistently ranked as the top student in his class, culminating in his matriculation in 1996. In 1997, Makosa embarked on his higher education journey by pursuing a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Psychology at the University of Zimbabwe. His focus on industrial psychology, mental testing and psychometrics, and personnel psychology prepared him for a career in business environments. He further enhanced his credentials with a Diploma in Training Management from the Institute of Personnel Management in Zimbabwe (IPMZ).


Navigating economic challenges and career shifts

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Shingarai Makosa proudly celebrates his graduation day at Unisa, showing the strength and determination that have defined his journey.

Despite his academic success, Makosa faced significant economic challenges that disrupted his plans. His pursuit of an MBA in 2006 was interrupted due to the economic situation in Zimbabwe, and he had to find alternative ways to support his family. He relocated to South Africa and worked as a Human Resources Specialist Consultant, but financial constraints continued to impact his educational goals. Makosa faced a phase in his life to overcome adversity and disability. In 2015, a tragic accident left Shingirai with a spinal cord injury, resulting in paraplegia and wheelchair dependency. During his recovery, he utilised his time to acquire professional coaching certifications and graphic design skills. This period of introspection and learning laid the foundation for his future endeavours.

Determined to continue his education, he enrolled in Unisa's Bachelor of Arts Honours in Applied Psychology in Professional Contexts programme in 2019. Unisa became his university of choice due to its flexible learning options, especially for students living with disabilities. The institution's commitment to accessible education and its diverse range of programmes allowed him to continue his studies despite facing significant challenges. Makosa expressed his gratitude to the Advocacy and Resource Centre for Students with Disabilities (ARCSWiD) for their exceptional support throughout the application, enrolment, and registration processes. He said: "Unisa became my university of choice due to its flexible learning options, especially for us students who are differently abled; ARCSWiD made it possible for me by making my journey remarkable from application enrollment to registration process."


Professional growth and future aspirations

While pursuing his degree, Makosa also ventured into entrepreneurship. He founded Shimak Consultants, a business specialising in business, career and mindset coaching. His expertise in psychology, business and coaching allowed him to offer comprehensive training and consulting services, helping individuals and businesses achieve their goals. Makosa's experiences with disability have fueled his passion for advocacy and inclusivity. He aspires to become an academic practitioner, focusing on research and lecturing on disability inclusion and empowerment. His unique perspective and resilience make him a powerful advocate for differently abled individuals, promoting diversity and inclusion in all areas of life.

Asked what advice he could share with students with disabilities, he said: "Cultivate a learning and growth mindset, bearing in mind that your disability does not define you." He emphasises the importance of embracing new opportunities in the era of online learning and AI technology. He believes education is a powerful tool for overcoming challenges and achieving independence.

Makosa's journey is a testament to the power of resilience, determination and the transformative impact of education. His story will inspire others to persevere through adversity and pursue their dreams, regardless of their obstacles. His legacy will undoubtedly inspire future generations as he continues to advocate for inclusivity and empowerment.

* By Kgothatso Mojela, Kagiso Moroatshehla and Seyabonga Thipe, Journalist interns, Department of Institutional Advancement.

Publish date: 2024/06/12

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