News & Events

Wadzanai will break down barriers, represent peripheral students

LLB student Wadzanai Mazhetese, President of Unisa’s Student Representative Council (NSRC), recently participated in a Q&A session with myUnisa News. 

Q: Please give us a brief summary of your responsibilities as President of the NSRC.

A: I am the spokesperson, head and chief executive officer of the NSRC in totality. I oversee the implementation of the SRC programme of action at national and regional level. I liaise on a continuous basis with university structures, including management. I am responsible for ensuring sound corporate governance, sustainability and ethical conduct in the NSRC. It is my duty to do whatever is practical and possible to preserve and protect the reputation and integrity of Unisa’s NSRC. The NSRC secretary, treasurer and I act as signatories to transactions in accordance with the finance policy.

Q: Tell us about your background.

A: I was born and bred in Gweru, Zimbabwe, a place where poverty is a harsh reality. Having grown up in an impoverished background I understand the plight of the people. Yet the community I come from is also a vibrant place with strong, Christian-based values, hence I bring a lot of humility to the Unisa student community. I used to walk long distances to school, which equipped me with endurance and the ability to struggle for a purpose, and a desire to make a change.

Q: In what way has your university journey motivated you to take on the role of NSRC President?

A: A university is a space of hope despite social constraints and conditions, as it enables a person to breathe with hope. Also, it gives us a platform that equalises economic and social dynamics. It has also opened up the world to me; there are so many contradictions in life, and the university articulates these things in a clearer sense. For me the university is a big space that has expanded my thinking and given me the ability to challenge the system. It gives me the strength to fight against the visible poverty we thought we had left behind in our communities. We have fought for insourcing and free education, so that everybody can be equal.

Q: What are your priorities in this role?

A: One of my main priorities is to make sure that students who exist in the periphery and are not covered by the system are taken care of. Unisa has to make sure that disabled students and international students are recognised and assisted. Education must be accessible to anybody who qualifies and is deserving. To achieve a global presence, Unisa should undo the notion of distance and break down all the barriers that exist to make a real difference.

Q: What is your leadership style?

A: My approach is informed by a school of thought that says engagement is the most important thing. We must understand the narratives that exist. When we lead we must take people from this point to another point. We must be able to understand our society, and take decisions and actions at the same time.

Q: How do you juggle your academic and leadership responsibilities?

A: The most important thing is to understand that you are a student first. Priorities should be clear. During the day I fulfil my responsibilities as the President, and late at night I attend to my academic development.

Q: How will you add value to the Unisa student community?

A: The ‘One student, one laptop’ campaign is a big initiative. No student should be without a laptop. I am excited to drive this narrative and would like to be remembered for it. As it is the biggest transformation project, we know it’s difficult because of unemployment and other reasons but we are not giving up.

Students can follow Wadzanai on Twitter @meet_Wadza and email him at mazhew@unisa.ac.za.

* By Lesego Ravhudzulo (Communications Directorate, Department of Institutional Advancement)

Publish date: 2019/02/14