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Chidzawo Family Hits Grad Trifecta

April 18, 2017

The Chidzawo family celebrating on Graduation day.

The Chidzawo family has hit a graduation trifecta! Sister and brother Nicole and Tatenda, along with Tatenda’s wife, Denise, all graduated from UKZN on the same day and at the same ceremony.

Nicole graduated with a BCom Honours in Marketing Management and is currently completing her Masters in Marketing at UKZN; Tatenda received a Postgraduate Diploma in Finance, Banking and Investment Management, while Denise was awarded a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

Originally from Zimbabwe, the family moved to South Africa from Lesotho when Nicole was just five-years- old.

Nicole, who has developed a love for photography and Afrocentric art pieces, spends her free time blogging, baking and travelling.

Her advice to students is to balance life while at university. ‘It’s good to work hard and to put effort into your studies but at the same time you need to allow yourself time to relax and enjoy your varsity years,’ she said. 

She acknowledged God, her mother, late father and her family and friends for their constant encouragement and support ‘through the smiles and tears’. She paid special tribute to her parents for instilling in her a love for education.

‘And last but not least I’d like to thank my wonderful Honours Lecturer and supervisor Professor Debbie Vigar-Ellis, she truly brought out my passion for marketing and went above and beyond the norm of a lecturer. She exposed our class to real-life marketing management experiences. I truly enjoyed my honours year because of her and she’s the reason I’ve decided to pursue a career as a lecturer later in life.’

Tatenda, a financial planner and avid sportsman, advised students to study hard to avoid repeating any subjects. ‘The sooner you start working, the better. This is due to the fact that as important as one’s qualification is, corporates assess your academic record and experience has become king in climbing up the ranks in an organisation.’

He echoed his sister in acknowledging their parents. ‘My father, prior to his death in 1997, was a Senior Lecturer at UKZN in the College of Law and Management Studies after putting himself through school and being awarded merit scholarships to study at the University of Zimbabwe. He also received a prestigious scholarship to study for his MBA in Canada. He achieved all this through hard work and diligence, a legacy he left for us his children to emulate,’ said Tatenda.

Newly-wed Tatenda said his wife Denise was supportive, while also pursuing her own goals. ‘We have been married for about five months and it has been fantastic.’

Denise, who advised students to manage their time and be committed, thanked her parents, who live in Swaziland, for always believing in her, ‘and I hope that I am making them proud.’

‘Tatenda is my inspiration and my rock. I would also like to acknowledge the Chidzawo family and I am extremely happy and privileged to be a part it,’ she said.

Denise works in Human Resources at Barloworld Transport and plans to do an MBA in the near future. In her spare time, she enjoys road running and has already completed three Comrades Marathons!

The “matriarch” in this high-achieving family is UKZN staffer Mrs Nolleen Chidzawo who had this to say: ‘I am the proudest mother on earth at the moment. I raised my three kids on my own after my husband passed away when they were still in lower primary school. This is the best thank you gift they could ever give me.’

Nolleen, who holds a BCom Honours degree and is reading for her master’s degree, said: ‘From a young age my late husband and I instilled the importance of education in our children and we led by example. We taught them that a good education is wealth no-one can take away from you. It gives you freedom,’ she said.

She thanked God for helping the family overcome challenges. ‘I believe that God may let you go through the most challenging trials in your life but He will always pave a way for you to overcome those challenges and reap the rewards in the end if you remain faithful.

‘I am also very proud of my daughter in-law, Denise Chidzawo, who graduated together with her husband - what a special moment this is for the whole family, we are truly blessed.’

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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