Posted on October 01, 2021
Disemelo Masehe, Senior Management Assistant in the Faculty of Law, chats to Tukkievaria about her duties at UP during the week and the children’s foundation that she co-founded and attends to at weekends.
Where did you work prior to joining UP?
I worked at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) for about 11 years, and my career in academia began in 2009 at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, which was established in 2008 as a partnership between Wits, the University of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Provincial Government.
I moved to Wits Business School in 2013, where I was a personal assistant to the Head of School. Then I was seconded during the Fees Must Fall protests in 2016 to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, as the Executive Assistant to the former Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Habib until October 2020. During this period, I had the privilege of working with the most amazing intellectuals, including the likes of our very own Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tawana Kupe, prior to his appointment at UP.
What does your day-to-day role entail?
It entails juggling various issues at the same time. I work with the Dean, Prof Elsabe Schoeman, and the Deputy Dean, Prof Charles Maimela. I assist Prof Maimela with various University initiatives, such as the Curriculum Transformation Drive, and ensure that all faculties and student reps participate in our monthly virtual lectures. This includes managing invitations, booking the studio for virtual lectures and marketing the events. Other events include the Inauguration of the Faculty of Law as well as monthly teaching and learning discussion forums, which include experts from various higher education institutions. We carefully research suitable speakers, send out invitations and manage the technical requirements that might be required for the day.
Other recent significant projects that I have been managing with Prof Maimela and Prof Joel Modiri was a donation from Emeritus Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke to the Oliver R Tambo Law Library. He generously contributed his personal books, photos and artefacts. This is one of the projects that I am excited to be working on.
Some of the other office projects that I am assisting with are the management of UP Law bursaries and scholarships, and assisting with the Internationalisation Working Group, where I manage meetings and some of the international partnerships and student agreements.
How does the UP community and general public benefit from UP Law’s offerings/services?
Among others, UP Law is ranked as the best law faculty in Africa, which means that our students receive the best quality education. The UP Law Clinic comprises two branches in Hatfield and Hammanskraal, and offers services such as legal advice to the indigent members of our community. The services of this clinic are also available to students.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy being introduced to new ideas and systems. Challenges excite me, so I enjoy managing new projects that I have not been trained for.
What do you do in your free time?
In 2016 my business partner Rhulani Mabasa and I established the Rhulani Mabasa Children’s Foundation. I am the Chairperson and he is Operations Manager for the day-to-day work of the foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to equip indigent children with the same sort of opportunities that children from a privileged background would have. We manage projects such as Food for Thought, a food parcels initiative, and run extra classes and invite various academics to assist. We have also collected enough books to open a library, and have a sports academy that is sponsored by the University of Johannesburg.
During COVID-19 we ran a bread drive, where we donated a loaf of bread to each child in need of food. We were fortunate to partner with Albany, Blue Ribbon, Sasko and local food restaurants to achieve our goal to alleviate poverty within the Meadowlands community. This project is so close to my heart – most weekends are dedicated to the foundation. To donate, please visit www.rhulanimabasafoundation.org.za.
What is your advice to colleagues who have faced adversity in the workplace?
Learn from your mistakes and focus on a picture that is bigger than yourself.
What are your personal likes and dislikes?
I like challenges, and dislike negative energy and being stagnant.
Movies: Black Panther
Actors: Jason Statham
All-time hero: My mom
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