Department of Residence Affairs and Accommodation bids farewell to Director Sisana Machi

Posted on July 05, 2019

After serving five years as a director for residence affairs and accommodation and 12 years as a deputy director for student administration at the University of Pretoria, Ms Sisana Machi is retiring. Machi has over 30 years of experience in the higher education sector, and 13 of those years were at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

“In July 2014 I received a call from Professor Themba Mosia, Vice-Principal: Student Affairs and Residences at UP and thought to myself, ‘what is this about?’ because I have never interacted with him before. After my meeting with him, he gave me an offer as Director for Residence Affairs. I resumed my duties in September 2014,” said Machi. “I took over a very large department with a staff compliement of 700. TuksRes at that time had a number of issues that needed to be resolved. It took almost a year for the Department to rebuild itself to be the TukRes that it is today”.

She said what she loves most about the department is the commitment shown by staff to perform their duties to the best of their ability. “We inculcated an ethos of being service driven, going an extra mile for the residence students of the University of Pretoria”.

Ms Sisana Machi says she is looking forward to resting and being a mother to her children.

Machi said her capabilities would not been noticed had she not started off at Groenkloof campus as a head of residence of Inca, now called Ikageng, responsible for 320 female students to overseeing over 11 500 today. 

According to Prof Themba Mosia, “Ms Machi’s excellent performance has touched thousands of students’ lives positively over decades in higher education. Her fond memories of the University of Pretoria far surpasses some of the hurdles and challenges she encountered as she was consolidating her career as a woman in a terrain that was dominated by men over decades. For the TuksRes family, she transformed not only the mindsets of colleagues, but the structural arrangements of a very complex and large Department. She leaves TuksRes in good health and a manageable shape.”

Prof Mosia said her legacy will continue to set the department apart as a vibrant, effective and welcoming environment for our students. “She really made my life easy as Vice-Principal because she took charge, consulted only on complex and costly matters, and had an excellent rapport with colleagues within and outside TuksRes. We are going to miss her outgoing personality; her attention to detail; her knowledge of the University, and in particular how to relate to students.”

Machi admits that they sometimes operate under difficult situations, including mental health issues and student hunger, but they ensure that “the dignity of our students is maintained, irrespective of whatever problems they are going through”.

She said she is looking forward to resting and being a mother to her children. However, she is going to miss her colleagues dearly. “This opportunity has given me a chance to turn around a lot of things and I am glad the institution is busy taking further steps with transformation,” she said.
Machi holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and she attributes her success to her former school, Inanda Seminary, because she believes that the education she received there shaped the woman that she is today.

- Author Xolani Mathibela

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