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Zikhona Mtwa Completes Master's in Development Studies!

Updated: Mar 16

On the 13th of October 2023, Ukuvula Isango research team member  Zikhona Mtwa proudly walked across the 1820 Settlers Monument stage to receive her Master’s degree in Development Studies from Rhodes University in Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown). This significant achievement marked the culmination of years of dedication and academic pursuit in a field that is as complex as it is vital for global development and transformation. The field of Development Studies is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing from economics, sociology, political science, and anthropology to understand the multifaceted dynamics of global development.

For her Master’s thesis, Zikhona delved into the heart of sustainable development, employing the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach as a guiding theoretical framework. Focusing on her hometown, Bizana, in the Eastern Cape, she explored sustainable livelihood opportunities for youth classified as Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEET). This research endeavour was not merely an academic exercise but a testament to Zikhona’s deep-rooted commitment to effecting positive change in her community. Her Master's program provided her with a holistic perspective on development issues, equipping her with analytical tools and critical thinking skills necessary to navigate the challenges of our interconnected world. One of the most rewarding aspects of her academic journey was the opportunity to engage in fieldwork and actively engaging with rural communities striving to amplify their voices and address their needs. From conducting interviews with youth and local stakeholders to analysing data on socio-economic trends, these first-hand experiences not only enriched her academic pursuits but also reaffirmed her resolve to be a catalyst for positive societal change.

As Zikhona embarks on the next chapter of her journey, her Master’s degree stands not only as a testament to her academic prowess but as a beacon of hope for communities striving for sustainable development. With her unwavering dedication and newfound insights, she is poised to make a tangible difference in the world, one community at a time. The entire Ukuvula Isango team is immensely proud of Zikhona for this accomplishment, and we are confident that Zikhona has many accomplishments yet to come.

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