Dr Ncediswa Zukani: Strength and Vision
February 8, 2024
Dr Ncediswa Zukani joined SANTS in 2021 as part of the Bachelor of Education (BEd) in Foundation Phase Teaching programme. She brought with her a wealth of classroom experience and a passion to share her knowledge with incumbent teachers. She quickly became a popular member of the team who frequently volunteered to go the extra mile and shared her infectious sense of humour with everyone.

Dr Zukani’s leadership skills came to the fore when she was asked to assist the Academic Head (AH) with the piloting of a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme. The students inevitably had some challenges but ‘Zuks’ as she was often affectionately called, was not deterred. She spent considerable time after hours and at Workplace Integrated Learning (WIL) assessments, supporting the students and assisting them to overcome their fears. This one on one support was invaluable and ensured that the students had the confidence to continue.

In her academic life, Ncediswa was on the brink of completing her PhD when she joined SANTS. She had not yet published a paper or presented at a conference and SANTS afforded her the opportunity to do so in Namibia. She shared her draft presentation with both her AH and the Executive Academic Director. Initially, she was a little concerned when she did not receive a glowing report and had to amend portions of the PowerPoint. She subsequently thanked her academic colleagues for pushing her to do so much better. It was this attitude that she carried into the finalizing of her PhD and its submission for examination. Around the time of the latter, Ncediswa was diagnosed with a recurrence of colon cancer which had manifested itself with extreme pain and difficulty in walking. Despite knowing that she had a challenging year ahead and subsequently hearing that the examination of her PhD would be delayed owing to some University issues, Ncediswa fought to achieve her personal goal. In October of 2023, Ncediswa proudly crossed the stage at the University of Fort Hare to become Dr Zukani. The University was equally proud of her achievement and went on to publish a piece in their newsletter about her struggle and strength of character.

In her personal life, Ncediswa was intensely private and a strong role model to her two sons whom she was raising as a single parent. She often spoke about her sons and it was always with a combination of humour and pride. Her eldest son immediately stepped up to assist his mother on hearing her cancer diagnosis and the youngest remained committed to his schooling despite the emotional struggle at home. I had the pleasure of meeting both her sons when visiting her in the hospital and I know that she has left a lasting legacy on the two young men she has raised.

As Ncediswa’s AH, I can say that I will truly miss her beautiful smile, wonderful throaty laugh, her commitment to her portfolio of work and passion for the students she was responsible for. ‘Lala Ngoxolo’ – rest in peace, my friend.

Dr Giulietta Harrison

Head: BEd Foundation Phase Teaching