Family’s double PhD journey over eight years

Posted on May 19, 2021

The past eight years have been exciting and challenging as Dr Eugene Machimana and Dr Nondumiso Machimana, pursued their PhD degrees at the Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria. “It is such a joy to have finally concluded this chapter in our academic studies as this will give us the time to invest in our family and the community”, said Dr Eugene Machimana. The Machimana’s next chapter promises to be a great one as both Eugene and Nondumiso are passionate about education and would like to invest their time in this critical sector of society.

Part of the success of any academic journey depends on the quality of the supervisor-student relationship. Eugene and Nondumiso appreciated the fact that they were mentored by expert supervisors who have a wealth of knowledge in their fields. Eugene Machimana was supervised by Dr Maximus Monaheng Sefotho and Prof Liesel Ebersöhn when writing his thesis, titled Retrospective experiences of a rural school partnership: informing global citizenship as a higher education agenda (2013 to 2016 – PhD: Learning Support, Guidance and Counselling, Department of Educational Psychology).

There was no break for this couple as Nondumiso Machimana registered for her PhD immediately after her husband had completed his PhD. Nondumiso, who was supervised by Dr Gerhard Genis, successfully completed her PhD thesis titled Language-learning strategies of English second-language learners participating in peer tutoring (2017 to 2020 – PhD: Curriculum and Instructional Design and Development [CIDD], Department of Humanities).

Their academic journey was marked by many sacrifices as they could not continue with life as usual during their studies. The journey was challenging as they both had to readjust their family, work and social lives. Eugene and Nondumiso had to support each other, including being ‘single parents’ by choice as one of them was focusing on  studies for four years. Tomtenda Machimana (8 years) and Minkateko Machimana (5 years), their sons, equally paid the price as they could not always have both parents to care for them. The boys also enjoyed very few holidays while their parents were studying during different phases in their academic journey.

“We thank our families (Machimana and Majozi), pastors and friends for their unwavering support throughout our academic journey. Special words of appreciation go to Mrs Wilna Swart, who had the privilege of editing both our PhD theses, for her exceptional Language Editing skills. Last but not least, we give glory to the Lord for His steadfast love and kindness in our lives, say Eugene and Nondumiso.

- Author Dr Eugene Machimana and Sharon Mashau
Published by Sharon Mashau

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