Humans of Henley: Zola Zuzani

#HumansOfHenley – Zola Noble Zuzani (MBA Programme Manager, Henley Business School Africa)

#HumansOfHenley – Zola Noble Zuzani (MBA Programme Manager, Henley Business School Africa)

Writing and education are my passion. When I was at high school I dreamed of becoming a journalist and went on to complete a BA degree in Communication and English at Andrews University in the US before heading to South Korea to teach English. Most recently, I got my PhD, graduating from the University of the Free State earlier this month.

I believe deeply in continuous learning but tackling a PhD is not child’s play. It was a lonely place for me and for my family for whom I was unavailable, and I understand why it causes some relationships to break down. Even though I pushed myself hard to finish within three years – I only just made it! – I felt a great deal of guilt about neglecting my wife and three daughters during the process. I’m well aware that I have a lot to make up for.

So why embark on a PhD in the first place? I am innately curious, and I want to transition from being an administrator to being an academic in the research space. I am also aware that women, most notably black women, do not get the same opportunities as men, particularly in academia.

My thesis, ‘The management of development support mechanisms to nurture the nGAP female academics into leadership positions’ set out to understand mentor-mentee interaction and explored how talent management as a management concept could be infused into the nGAP initiative as a driving force towards developing and mentoring black female early-career academics.

The New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) is a department of Higher Education and Training initiative that involves the recruitment of highly capable scholars as new academics. It was introduced by government to promote new academics by growing their understanding of what is going in in academia.

Now that I have graduated I can go back to ‘normal’ life. I’m a vegetarian and a keen runner with five Comrades marathons under my belt. I believe that my body is an engine that can only function optimally when it’s completely healthy.

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