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Doctoral Graduate handled New Born Baby and Studies in Her Stride

April 18, 2017

Dr Felistas Zimano. 

Having a baby while doing research which involved travelling through southern African countries was something Management and Public Administration doctoral graduate Dr Felistas Zimano took in her stride.

After all, she says, having a baby during her studies ‘was not new to me as I have had a child during all my degrees leading up to my PhD. But this was a bit different because of the extensive travelling involved. I had no option but to take her along to the data collection sites and international conferences when she was barely four months old.’

Zimano travelled to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique, surveying international truck drivers in transit.

After overcoming the first hurdle of finding a supervisor who was willing to accept that she would not drop her desired study topic titled: “Road Entry Point Management Systems and Regional Integration: The Case of Zimbabwe”, Zimano was elated when School of Management, Information Technology and Governance academic Dr Fayth Ruffin agreed to take her on and also offered the services of fellow doctoral students Mr Bongani Qwabe, Ms Ntokozo Makoba, Mr Edward Nondo, Dr Winnie Martins and Mr McBride Nkalamba.

When all was on track and Zimano was balancing the demands of her studies and motherhood, there was a serious setback when Ruffin fell down a flight of stairs during a power outage and suffered serious injuries which landed her in hospital during the research tools development stage.

‘People in research would understand how this is a challenge because the tools are a requirement when submitting ethical clearance application. The ethical clearance is the one that would set the key research activities in motion,’ says Zimano.

‘So, now that the supervisor was hospitalised and in pain our schedule had to be reworked. However, as soon as she was discharged from hospital she made time for the tools. We had to meet off campus since she was still unable to walk. Eventually, although behind schedule, I managed to submit my ethical clearance application and moved on.

‘At this point I realised that I had to work extra hard. The passion to achieve displayed by Dr Ruffin despite her condition at that time showed me that I was not going to have anyone to blame but myself if I failed to make it,’ she said.

Zimano finished her thesis in five semesters.

So far, Zimano’s research has resulted in four articles being submitted to peer-reviewed journals. One of them: Palpable Linkage of Supply Chain Management to Hard and Soft Infrastructure Marriage: The Case of SADC Road Entry Point Management Systems, was published by the International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management.

Zimano, a former employee of the University of Zimbabwe and Great Zimbabwe University, looks forward to starting post-doctoral studies in the near future.

Zimano thanked her family - especially her husband David, her helper, Virginia, and all those who supported her on this journey.

Thandiwe Jumo

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