Her love for teaching and transforming lives through education led Mazibuko to study at UKZN. ‘I always strive to be a leader of progressive movements to better communities and that is possible through education. My goal is to give back to society through teaching and help learners gain the necessary knowledge/skills to improve their lives and be active participants in society,’ she said.
A hardworking student, Mazibuko received the 2015 New Entrant Award for obtaining six distinctions in matric. She was then awarded the Frene Ginwala Scholarship, granted to the top 10 black females entering UKZN in 2015.
However, she still struggled financially and worked part-time as a tutor, mentor and residence assistant. She also struggled to strike a balance between personal, social and academic matters while simultaneously adjusting to life in the city. Nonetheless, Mazibuko graduated top of her class.
‘I applaud UKZN for the provision of support services such as the mentorship programme which helped me adjust to the University environment. I [played] great leadership roles and was involved in community engagement projects which helped to enhance my personal and professional growth,’ said Mazibuko.
Her advice to other students is, ‘Attend lectures and make use of consultation times with lecturers. Make use of the support services available and be involved in organisations to enhance your personal and professional development. Believe in yourself, excel in everything that you do and never limit your capabilities.’
She thanked her family and friends for their support: ‘Every time I felt like giving up, they were there to give me strength and hope and restore the belief in me that I could do it. I would to also thank UKZN Edgewood staff especially my lecturers for helping me realize my potential to excel through their constant support and guidance.’
Her many leadership roles included UKZN Golden Key President, Edgewood Chapter in 2017, and Tutor and Head of English department (Languages) in the Edgewood Extra Tuition Programme which assists grade 10-12 learners. Based on academic merit and community engagement, she travelled to Berlin, Germany on a study tour through the EPIZ Exchange Programme. She also received Excellence Awards from the School of Education for her academic, leadership and community engagement prowess.
Mazibuko is currently studying towards her Honours in Education (Curriculum Studies), is a residence assistant and a Mainstream Mentor, assisting students with academic and social matters. She hopes to dedicate more time to the growth of her foundation (the Phakamile Mazibuko Foundation) and collaborate with various organisations to develop programmes to enhance people’s lives, especially women in rural areas.