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Passion, resilience and support a success recipe for Nomsa Shabangu

Nomsa Shabangu, daughter of, Susan Shabangu, Minister of Social Development, is part of the graduate class of 2019. She obtained a BA Social Work degree, which took her 7 years to complete, at age 45. myUnisa news sat down with this special achiever to find out what makes her tick.

Tell us about your study journey with Unisa

Studying with UNISA as a part-time student allowed me to juggle my work, parenting and studying at the same time. I was able to submit my assignments on time and to prepare for the exams. I was taking a few modules a year in order to also attend to my other responsibilities.

What are your personal interests?

My main personal interest is working with my community. I support a friend in Katlehong who has started a soccer team in his community. I find working in with the team very fulfilling and worthwhile because the children in my friend’s community are now staying away from drugs, since they spend their free time at soccer practise or playing against other teams if they are not at school. My involvement has also inspired me to think about establishing a soccer team in my community, because I love soccer and have a passion for it. My grandfather was one of the founders of the biggest team, so I would like to follow in his footsteps.

What are you currently doing apart from studying?

Currently I work as an assistant probation officer for the Department of Social Development, which requires me to work with children who are in conflict with the law and also to render home base supervision. We also go to schools to present awareness and prevention programmes regarding substance abuse and crime.

What are you most grateful for?

I am most grateful to my family as they have been supportive to my journey. They have uncomplainingly assisted throughout my journey, especially by assisting with the care of my child. Also am grateful to my mother from protecting us from the spotlight in which she lives, and making sure that we become who we want to be.

Now that you are qualified, how do you plan to apply your knowledge?

As a qualified social worker, I plan to utilise the knowledge that I have by sharing it with my colleagues and my community so that they are able to understand what it is that we as social workers do, and where to go when they need help. Some communities are not aware of the services we render.

To what extent do you think Unisa is helping society to define a better tomorrow?

Unisa teaches society values, respect and integrity to define a better tomorrow. Once you know who you are, you know where you are going and you don't forget where you come from. This is reflected in the Zulu saying ‘umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’.

Nomsa had this to add:

As a new social worker I would like to see us as social workers not undermining our profession as we also play an important role in the country, like all other professions. What I have seen is that our profession is not taken seriously as there is lack of information. This makes us invisible in our communities, but are positive that things will change. 

*Compiled by Katlego Pilane (Communications and Marketing Assistant, College of Human Sciences)

Publish date: 2019/04/17