Professor, at 34, is SA’s youngest dean
DAILY NEWS / 6 JULY 2017, 2:00PM / MPHATHI NXUMALO
Thabo Msibi, SA's youngest dean
Durban- Professor Thabo Msibi, 34, the head of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Education, is the youngest dean in the country.
Estcourt-born Msibi said it was with mixed emotions that he accepted the position of dean.
“I had never imagined holding such a prestigious position,” he said.
It was through the encouragement of his mentor, Chrisly Hampson, who saw his talent and potential, that Msibi pursued a career in academia.
Msibi said the primary and high schools he attended had also helped him to excel academically.
On his appointment in May, he said he was nervous and excited at the same time, but also realised the huge responsibility that lay ahead of him.
The Cowies Hill resident said the position came with difficult decisions.
“The School of Education is one of the biggest in the country and, because of this, will have a big impact on education in South Africa.”
Msibi, who has degrees from Columbia and Cambridge universities, said he has learnt to be assertive and empathetic at the same time, and treat people with fairness and integrity.
He attributed his success to a strong work ethic.
The road to him becoming a dean was also a growth process for him.
“I never had much self-confidence when I was younger, but grew in confidence as I studied more and obtained more qualifications.”
Msibi’s main focus of studies is on how prejudice, marginalisation and discrimination impact on people’s construction of their identities and experiences at institutions.
He is not resting on his laurels as he is currently involved in a project called the Community Development Association (Cad), an outreach programme that works with disadvantaged schools.
The project is run by students from the university’s Edgewood Campus who implement this - and other projects - at selected schools.
Msibi, a father of one, said students from the organisation went to schools for debating, public speaking and HIV/Aids awareness sessions, among other activities.
While doing this, students from Cad improved skills such as project management and fundraising.
Msibi says he wanted to ensure the university’s School of Education was one of the best in the country.