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Ugu Deputy Mayor Mthiyane now a proud Unisan

The Deputy Mayor of the Ugu District Municipality, Councillor Phumlile Happiness Mthiyane received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Administration and Communication Facilitation at a ceremony held in Durban on 29 May. Graduating for the first time at the age of 43, Mthiyane, who hails from the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), said she had waited for this moment for the longest time.

Jubilation filled the graduation hall when Mthiyane’s name was called out on stage. As she strolled down the red carpet she was visibly full of joy and happiness. It goes without saying that she is a shining example of good leadership in the municipality she leads and its community at large. She is an inspiration to the youth and has served her community with distinction, starting off as a youth development officer at the erstwhile Ezinqoleni Municipality.  In this position she was responsible for the success of many young people in her community since she was responsible for granting further education funding by the municipality. 

Mthiyane rose through the ranks and was appointed as Deputy Mayor in July 2018. She started her political career as an African National Congress (ANC) Youth League leader, and was then prominent in the ANC Women’s League before becoming the Regional Executive Committee Deputy General Secretary of the ANC in the KZN South Coast region.

Mthiyane’s dedication towards and focus on education in general and education for youth in particular, were inspired by the call made by the President of the country in 2007 when he said that the doors of learning should be opened because educated youth is the future of this country. She firmly believes that educated youth stand a better chance to be employed and have an opportunity to move out of poverty. ‘We need young people to be educated as they are our future leaders,’ she said. ‘This is why my own educational journey is not ending here – I have registered for an honours degree at Unisa. The reason I am continuing my studies at this open, distance and e-learning institution is because of accessibility, flexibility and internet-online capabilities available at Unisa. As a politician and career woman, internet-online study support and research helped me to complete my studies as I was able to study anywhere, anytime and at my own pace.

(From Left) Ms Poppy Tshabalala, Vice-Principal: Information & Communication Technology, Councillor Phumlile Mthiyane, Deputy Mayor of the Ugu District Municipality, Prof. Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Vice-Principal: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation, Prof.  Nikidi Phatudi, Chair of Department: Early Childhood Education and  Dr Britta Zawada, Deputy Executive Dean: College of Human Sciences.

On behalf of Unisa Professor Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Vice-Principal: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation, said the Deputy Mayor’s graduation was an important lesson for young people as it demonstrated the importance of formal post-school education regardless of the position held by an individual or achievements already accomplished.

* By Siyabonga Seme, Manager: Communication and Marketing, Unisa KZN Region

Publish date: 2019/05/30