Thuli gives back through teaching
Ms Thuli Msimanga is an Alumna of the NWU Vaal Triangle Campus. She was part of the first class of social work student to graduate on the Vaal Campus and today she is one of the lecturers on campus.
She grew up in Sebokeng (Zone 11) on the Vaal Triangle and in 1997 her family moved to Boitumelo (still in Sebokeng) and this is where she spent most of her childhood. “I enjoyed every moment in my township and I was surrounded by wonderful friends and family.” She says although this was a disadvantaged community she was not held back, as she had always known that she was destined for greater things.
“I studied at NWU Vaal and I had the best experience being a student at such a wonderful campus,” says Thuli. According to Thuli the campus is beautiful and the fact that there were not many students at the time was an added advantage, because one could have close relationships with the lecturers and this made studying here easy for her.
Working at a wonderful campus
After Thuli completed her studies in 2011, she started work at the Emfuleni Shelter for Boys until 2012; she then moved to the Sedibeng Regional Department of Social Development in 2013. “I was called by the subject chair, Dr Johan Steyler, and he asked if I would be interested in joining their team and with no hesitation I agreed even though this was just a one year contract. Luckily, the post was advertised and I was appointed on a full-time basis,” says Thuli.
“I love working here at NWU Vaal because I know my colleagues and I am just happy that I can give back to the department that contributed to my success as a social work student. What I am constantly learning from my colleagues is that it is important to ask if you do not understand. This is a good lesson to me because I do not ask for assistance most of time and this makes my tasks more difficult and takes up a lot of my time. By just asking, you save up a lot of time and you are able to complete a lot of tasks in a reasonable amount of time,” says Thuli.
Thuli is currently working as a junior lecturer; she started her teaching duties as a lecturer in January 2014. “I give classes to 1st and 4th years; I also do normal admin stuff and organizing some events for social work students. I plan on registering for my Master’s degree in social work in 2015 so that I can be able to do research in future.”
Passion for practice and life
She says her life in general has been filled with a lot of challenges and tragic events, and throughout these challenges she has managed to keep going strong. “After going through all the challenges I would try to find meaning from them. After discovering what I hypothesised their ‘positive meaning’ to be, I would only focus on that and try to move on with my life” says Thuli.
She says that instead of letting challenges pull her down, she uses them as motivation to do even better in life no matter what it takes. “Whenever I would go through difficult times in my life, I would tell myself that I can survive and still stand strong afterwards. There is nothing in this world that could ever pull me back,” says Thuli.
What motivates her to pursue her career so effortlessly is her love for social work practice. She is happy to be part of a team that trains future social workers and ensures that they are well equipped to go into practice and provide the best services to communities. “What excites me the most about my field of work is learning new things all the time and having the opportunity to share the new knowledge that I have gained with others. I also love to be challenged, even though it may be hard at times,” says Thuli.
Thuli says that her biggest goal in the workplace is to ensure that, the social work students who graduate are better equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitude that they need in order to become the best practitioners out there. “I am not just looking to make students pass and graduate in time. I want to influence the social work profession as a whole,” says Thuli.