Monday, 20 June 2022

Vice-Chancellor’s Prestigious Achievers Award inspired her to be the best she could be

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Dr Yvonne Maphosa is a Zimbabwean award-winning author and academic. ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Dr Yvonne Maphosa is a Zimbabwean award-winning author and academic.

Dr Yvonne Maphosa says the Vice-Chancellor’s Prestigious Achievers Award “is not just a bursary, it’s an acknowledgement of outstanding postgraduate students who have shown academic excellence and an embodiment of the CPUT graduate attributes”.

Here Maphosa talks about how grateful she was to receive it.

The Zimbabwean-born academic obtained her Doctorate in Food Science and Technology during the CPUT Autumn Graduation Series 2022.  Maphosa completed her BTech in Food Technology (Cum Laude) in 2013 and was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Medal as the best graduating student in the Faculty of Applied Sciences. She passed her Master’s with distinction and graduated in September 2016.

Reflecting on her career journey, the bubbly author says: “A PhD is not a walk in the park. It requires a lot of emotional and financial support. It’s a very difficult journey that requires commitment and strength. I was blessed with the support of my family, friends and fellow postgraduate students. I had amazing supervisors as well. They held my hand and guided me through. I will forever be indebted to them. The CPUT postgraduate centre was also very helpful and always there to assist.”

The last born of six says a PhD is very expensive and the VC’s Prestigious Achievers Award provided for her tuition, residence and everything she needed to successfully complete her PhD.

The VC’s Prestigious Achievers Award played a huge role in the completion of her studies.

“It also came with tremendous non-financial support from the committee and the VC’s office, all of which I’m deeply grateful for.”

A believer and a go-getter, Maphosa says: “It is [a] motivation to keep on excelling. It inspired me to be the best I could be.”

Growing up in Mambale village, deep in the rural areas of Plumtree, Zimbabwe, working hard came naturally for Maphosa. “Working [hard] was instilled in me from a young age. Waking up early to work the fields before running many kilometres to school, then running to the river to fetch water after school taught me that in life you have to work hard. It also taught me balance and time management.”

Maphosa, who has always been an A student, has won numerous prestigious awards throughout her academic journey in the form of funding, medals, trophies, certificates, and scholarships. “They serve as acknowledgements, reassurances and motivations to accomplish more.”

Besides being an academic, she is an award-winning author. and has published two fiction novel series; The y in yOUR Man is Silent (national bestseller) and Grasping at Straws (award winning).

Maphosa is also involved in charity work. She runs a campaign called Buy-A-Pad with Yvonne. She collects and donates sanitary pads to disadvantaged women and girls. She also has a writing competition, Luvone, aimed at discovering young, unpublished writers. From this competition, the book: Luvone: an anthology of short stories was published. Maphosa is involved in several community projects in Zimbabwe, especially those aimed at empowering the girl child and advocating for women rights.Summiting Mount Kilimanjaro was another highlight of her life.

In her message to prospective students, Maphosa says: “Be yourself. You can only realise your true potential if you are truly yourself. Don’t waste your life mimicking other people or chasing the wind at the expense of your dreams. Focus! Set your goals and work towards them.”

Maphosa also acknowledged the support she received from the Vice-Chancellor and the awards committee.  “Thank you for awarding me the Vice-Chancellor's Prestigious Achievers Awards. I am sincerely humbled and elated that you found me a suitable beneficiary for this honourable award. It made a remarkable difference in my PhD journey and my life as a whole. I’m truly grateful.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce