Friday, April 13, 2007

Research report results still outstanding

It is with great distress that I am posting this blog. I feel let down by my Department of Forced Migration Studies and the Faculty of Humanities. As you already know I submitted my research report on the 15th of February 2006. According to University policy it should only take a minimum of four weeks to get a response from the Faculty. I only got a response (Corrections) from the Faculty on the 10th of October 2006 after I had made numerous phone calls and requests to find out what was happening.
I was given the impression that this was my fault that the External Examiner had refused to award a mark for my work resulting in me getting a mark from my Internal examiner only. After having done corrections to the Research Report I submitted it on the 10th of November 2006. I was happy and I thought that I would be able to get my results soon, at latest in the midst of February 2007. Alas this was not to be.I phoned the Faculty many times since the beginning of the year only to be told to “phone again on Friday,” “phone next week,” “I will have a response for you by the end of the month” and so on and so on. Yesterday (Thursday 12 April 2007) I was told to phone and find out on Monday 16 April. I am now tired of this routine.
To say this has been a frustrating experience for me is to say the least. I feel that I am being taken for granted and as a result my time is being wasted because I have waited for more than a year to get the results of my degree. This is unacceptable. I have consulted with my colleagues and it appears that my case is not extra ordinary. For instance, Zam Zam Guled (ex Forced Migration Studies Student) now Political Studies Department submitted her Research report in August 2006, got the same response that the external examiner refused to mark her work. A Committee sat to discuss her research report and another examiner was found for her in which case she got her corrections back, did them, submitted and got her graduation confirmation letter at the beginning of the year. This all happened in a space of six months.
Now what I don’t understand is why in particular my research report is still unmarked one year two months later on. I have plans with my life and I don’t want to be held back because someone somewhere is not doing their work. I want to further my studies/work and to be able to do this I need the results of my Masters in Forced Migration Studies.Eish please advice me of further avenues I can take to have my work marked and my degree confirmed. I already spoke to my Head of Department and he says I should wait till Monday 16 April 2007. My patience is running out so fast.


It was a good reunion. On Wednesday 11 April I was invited for lunch by the World of Work Internship staff. They were hosting their new batch of interns for 2007. I felt exhilarated at the thought of meeting my friends (Celeste, Rand Merchant Bank, Zanele De Beers and Cyrille from CG) and former colleagues and the new interns. More interesting is the fact that they (2006 interns) are all doing well in their prospective employment environments.

Zanele is slowly edging towards her dream career in Community Tourism. She says she is still working in the PR department of De Beers. (God I wish I could be in that PR department)! Celeste is having a ball assessing risk and political environments for her bank and Cyrille is thinking of getting into partnership with someone interested in Gold mines. I looked at him in admiration and started thinking that these definitely must be the fruits of the WOW programme. He is already thinking of going independent hardly a year later

Before coming for the lunch I remember thinking to myself that if given the chance to say something at the luncheon to the interns I was going to tell them that the World of Work is really two fold. Sometimes it is cracked up to be what it is supposed to be and sometimes its not. It just depends on one’s attitude. I came to Nedlac as a communications intern hoping to advance up the larder to be a communications coordinator but it didn’t turn up that way. According to the Executive Director I couldn’t land this post because firstly I am a foreigner and secondly my qualifications (BSc Hons Media and Society Studies and MA Forced Migration Studies) are so common place in South Africa that the Government (Department of Foreign Affairs or is it Labour?) would be upset if they were told that I am in permanent employ. So he told me that that is the dilemma that he is facing but that he is willing to help me with anything to find a job. (So you employers out there who do not mind employing foreigners I am still available and searching!)

I am now doing administrative work like my compatriot Takwana Makaya in Nedlac under the Community Constituency. I am enjoying it as it has managed to tighten up my previous administrative skills, albeit on a small scale because I don’t feel that it is challenging. I crave for something challenging that will get all my nerves worked up in anticipation of far reaching consequences. Mr Mkhize really appreciates the work that administrators do in Nedlac. This was made evident at the New Year’s welcome presentation of Nedlac staff. He reiterates all the time that everyone in ANY organisation is an administration. He terms himself is an administrator. The only difference according to him is that “we are administrators at a different level.” What do you think guys? I am not going to say anything about it right now save to say that his words gave me encouragement.

One other person who keeps encouraging me is Lesley she asked me whether I now understood and appreciated why she had placed me at Nedlac. I told her that yes I did. It was going to be a nightmare to get me a placement anywhere else given my foreignness. Nedlac was the answer since they had taken foreign interns before. After all has been said and done, I really appreciate the time and space that have been accorded to me by Nedlac. I am on the road after all. It’s just that my walk will be much longer than everybody else’s but I am on the same road with them nonetheless.

So to my fellow foreign interns. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The big break may be instant like in Cyrille’s case or it may take longer like in my case so keep up the spirit.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Internship extension

I was recently told that my internship will be extended by a further two months and I am just glowing inside. Thank God I will get the chance to prove myself once again.

I was working on the Growth and Development Summit PowerPoint presentation that I had been given by the director. It basically was a tedious task that demanded me to concentrate and cut and paste certain sections into slides written “what we planned to do” and “what did we do”. This was for all four of Nedlac’s constituency’s government, community, business and labour.

I started working on this document in the morning and the Executive Director had indicated that he wanted it by 3pm so by 3pm I had only done ninety three slides and the document was not showing any signs of abating. So eventually at 5pm the time that I knock off I just decided to save everything and send the document to him. Early next morning I was sitted by my desk and the director said to me “Pascalia would you send the GDS to the President.”

I was surprised at this question because when I went home I immediately forgot about it and to make matters worse I hadn’t even checked the document for errors. It was difficult for me to answer the question because I had no idea what the document looked like. So I admitted that since it was obvious to him that the document was not good I had to admit that I wouldn’t send it to the President. After he left the document I opened the presentation with a lot of trepidation and rightly so the document didn’t look very good.

I was alone in the office but I swear I blushed deeply over this incident. The lesson I learned from this goes back to the one in one of the lectures about professional writing. You know when you learn something sometimes when you are in that situation you may start feeling that it doesn’t apply to you especially if you have always believed yourself to be a good writer.

I proved myself wrong because with documents if one is behind schedule and you haven’t finished work its always right to ask for an extension. Its better to be late than to produce bad work sometimes but not always

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On top my work!

Oh do I feel so good. Just like a cat which has finished a saucer of milk! Last week I was working with Kim and Dallas over the design and production of the Nedlac booklet. (It will act as an information source to our delegates who will be coming for the Executive committee meeting).

The challenging task about it was I had to gather pictures of most of the delegates who were mentioned in the booklet. We had a few hard copies in the organisation which are the most preferred ones compared to electronic versions.

The experience required me to network with internal colleagues as well as with people from outside the organisation like GCIS, SACP, DPSA, COSATU, BUSA and SANCO. I remember we received one funny picture which looked like the person in it was ready to go on a violent frenzy. The funny part was when I asked for a better picture the same picture was sent to me four different times by a different person who fervently promised to be around if I needed more pictures.

The other thing was that in the communications I requested specifically a headshot photograph of a particular person but I will confess to having received several group photographs! After I emphasized the point I was eventually sent an ID photograph with part of the head cut off. The picture was not good enough so when I asked to have another one I was told that the delegate would be coming to Johannesburg some time and that I could contact her and get a picture of her. Amazing ha?

So yesterday Dallas finished the layout and sent the final proof. Kim asked me “What do you think of the book? Happy to advise sign-off”? So I said “too happy Kim” and she replied “Cool - thanks. And good job Pascalia. You did really well. It’s a pleasure to work with someone so professional and on top of her work.” I must say it really is a pleasure and rewarding feeling to work with a supervisor who acknowledges the effort you put into work. Thanks for the compliment Kim. When you work with somebody professional sometimes you can’t help it but just mirror them as well!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Managing the work programme

One thing that I will forever be grateful for working with Kim is that she taught me the easiest and most efficient way of managing a work programme. It is so user friendly that anyone who wants to know what is happening in the communications section can simply go through it and see where progress or non progress has been made.

It also has a space for bottlenecks and interventions and of the specific people who need to be contacted and the time frame when a particular task has to be completed. I have found this format very useful to me because when Kim calls for a meeting I simply browse through my work programme and update it where necessary. The other thing it does is that one also gets to see the original ideas when the programme was muted and helps one to know that there still is some unfinished business. This way continuity can be guaranteed.

Another aspect I like about it is the fact that one can always evaluate and assess themselves in the problems encountered section. For instance, when I was collecting stories from the coordinators for the Dialogue most were not keen at the beginning. I was told by some that it is not their job to write stories, given old presentations, given booklets and indifference by some. Some were wonderful though, offering more information and suggestions.

In the end everything worked out after a lot of persistence as I eventually got all the stories except from one person. The only snag though is that the stories have not yet been signed off by the powers that be. I was hoping that it could be part of the documentation for EXCO but it’s too late now.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Pascalia Ozida Munyewende
Curriculum Vitae

Personal Details

Full name: Pascalia Ozida Munyewende
University of the Witwatersrand
West Campus Village, Block E20
Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
Phones: 072 083 0023/011 356 0630
Emails: or

My career objective is to be able to contribute strategically and tactically in delivering communication objectives by developing outstanding plans and effective writing through the use of my strong analytical skills. I aspire to become a Communications Programme Officer in the near future.


University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) 2005-2006
Midlands State University, (Gweru- Zimbabwe), 2000 – 2003.
Chaplin High School, (Gweru, Zimbabwe), 1993-1998
Stanley Primary School, (Gweru, Zimbabwe), 1986-1992

Work experience

Currently Intern Communications Coordinator, Nedlac Offices Rosebank.

The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe- MMPZ
Position: Assistant Research Monitor
Duration: 1 January 2004- 25 January 2005.

Skills acquired - writing weekly media updates disseminated through the media on reportage of issues in Zimbabwe’s print media. Monitoring Violations and attending network meetings.
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC Pretoria, South Africa)

Position: Research and Information Officer
Duration: March to April 2004

Skills acquired – monitoring and writing a weekly synopsis on the media coverage of different African nations, and of the UN, updating the UNIC Library database.

Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources CAMPFIRE Association

Position: Research and Information Officer
Duration: January 2003- March 2003 and July 2003 - August 2003

Skills – collecting, researching and documenting information on CAMPFIRE projects/activities for CAMPFIRE publicity materials responding to request for information concerning CAMPFIRE activities. Developing press releases, bulletins, appropriate media coverage of CAMPFIRE by building a media network. Assisting with the development of funding proposals for Communities. Rapportuering of workshop/board meeting proceedings. Maintaining of CAMPFIRE project files.
Monitoring and facilitating the distribution of CAMPFIRE information materials. I gained Project Management knowledge, research and a variety of analytical skills.

The Herald Newspaper

Position: Reporter
Duration: August 2002 - December 2002

Skills – excellent verbal and writing communication skills. Managing a daily news diary, feature stories on Health and HIV/AIDS stories court stories general news items as well as human interest stories. Attending workshops and conferences hosted by different stakeholders. Writing commercial and informative supplements for corporate companies.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa - (MISA Zimbabwe)

Position: Assistant to the Research and Information Officer
Duration: January 2002 - July 2002

Skills: Acquired experience in human rights work through monitoring media freedom violation and advocacy. Facilitating workshops and conferences to conscientise journalists, editors and citizens on media law. Writing of bi-monthly reports to MISA members. Research on community broadcasting. Assist with the provision of information leading to the release of arrested journalists to MISA Zimbabwe Lawyers.


National Associations for the Care of the Handicapped NASCOH
Period of engagement 28-30 October 2002.

Other skills
• Microsoft Windows based Programs (Word and Power Point).
• Flexible and able to respond quickly to problems as they may occur.
• Producing excellent written material or reports under tight deadlines.
• Good presentation skills.
• Developing research proposals, including literature review and constructing appropriate research instruments, having learned this specifically through the graduate studies programme. offered by the University of the Witwatersrand.
• I am a highly motivated and well organized individual who is able to work quickly and well under pressure both independently and as a member of a team.

Professional Membership
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe)
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ)

Reading current affairs journals, debates, travelling. Art and music fascinate me as well as dancing, gardening, and cooking.

References are available on request.

WTO trade expert

At the end of this month out Trade and Industry Coordinator Sandile Roro will be leaving to join another organisation. I can already hear people wondering why I am mentioning this.

The reason is that when I first came to Nedlac had no idea about trade issues. I was anxious I would not have been able to understand issues if I was to sit in one of their meetings. So to prepare myself I read an article which had been written by Neva Makgetla in The Star about South Africa having to be careful about WTO tariffs, and non tariffs barriers.

I was wondering to myself what these terms could mean and I thought it would be an opportunity to have a one on one talk with Sandile where he would explain these nitty gritties and more to me.

I scheduled an appointment and went to him and he explained to me how the WTO works. The South African government’s including Nedlac’s role in the process as well as other countries involved in the process. I must say it was a very interesting “lecture” for the next time he came around asking for a scribe for the TIC strategic meeting that was held on June 8 at Sandton Towers and conference centre I was eager to go.

I was happy because what he had taught me made it easier for me to digest the dialogue that was going on between the four constituencies of Nedlac. My writing of one of the sessions also became easier. Terms like bilateral trade agreements, trade in services and others are now friendly terms. The organisation that has snatched Sandile from Nedlac is very fortunate to have him for according to me he is a sincere and hardworking person.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hoping to be a communications coordinator

A couple of weeks ago Nedlac advertised four vacancies which need to be filled. One of them is for the post of Communications Coordinator. I decided to apply for this post as it fits with what I am currently doing as an intern. I fervently hope that I will get the position. I wrote a motivation letter that went something like this: I have knowledge of the principles and practices of communications and public information techniques through different mediums, including voice, print, Internet, PowerPoint; writing and editing techniques for a variety of audiences; research and problem solving techniques.

The experience I have had with Nedlac so far has given me the edge that makes me positive that I am a fit for the position of communications coordinator with the organisation.
As the Communications Coordinator I will be able to provide expert advice and assistance regarding issues, communications recommendations, and support to Nedlac on how to preserve and protect Nedlac’s image. I can create and execute a comprehensive annual communications plan in support of Nedlac’s strategic objectives.

Due to the experience I have had with Nedlac so far as an intern I feel that before my internship is over I will be able to respond orally to inquiries and provide information to members of the public about Nedlac. I can write effective copy, proposals, press releases, articles, etc.; prepare presentations; design and layout electronic and print newsletters and website pages; use desktop publishing and printing techniques; especially when taught the basics. I can work independently with limited supervision and under multiple deadlines; I can develop and maintain good working relationships with internal staff as well as external people especially media personnel and people from other organizations who deal with Nedlac’s diverse interests (Government, Business, Labour and Community).

Being a social sciences graduate and a participant in the World of Work Internship programmes, I am knowledgeable about South African, African and international social and economic landscapes. I understand the concept of social dialogue and policy formulation having worked for Media advocacy organizations namely the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe) and the Media Monitoring Project in Zimbabwe.

I can contribute as well as maintain Nedlac’s website content ensuring accuracy, consistency and quality in addition to researching and writing media articles. It would also be necessary to compile and analyse quotations in order to assess cost, operational feasibility and other aspects when dealing with Nedlac’s communication programs. What attracts me to this job is the quality of experience I will gain and the different cultural values I will bring along to this post.

I am an enthusiastic, motivated and a very confident young lady. Because of this I believe that I am the right candidate to “take Nedlac to new heights in terms of the organisation’s profile and broader communication of its programme, processes and achievements”.

Off course you will all know about the outcome!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Movies and popcorn are luxuries

I went to Zimbabwe over the Youth day celebrations. Eeish things are bad! The Zim dollar has lost its value so dramatically that all people do is count bills and more bills of money. When people are queuing in supermarkets one can be certain that it’s to do with money counting.
I was unlucky to get $20 000 notes (I should be arrested because I bought the local currency from the black market but so is everyone else!) instead of the $50 000 or the acclaimed $100 000 which lost its value the exact minute it hit the streets.

To leave a semi normal existence one has to use one million dollars everyday, that’s more or less buying a loaf of bread at 180 000 a 275ml of milk at 85 000, combi fare of 70 000 a 500g packet of meat at 490 000. One can forget about tomatoes onions and those other things considered to go with a balanced meal. Sad thing is not everyone can afford this.

The United Nations agencies report that over 4 million Zimbabweans face food shortages out of a population of about 13 million. I was talking to one of my friends from my former university and he was a very bitter man.
He spoke at length about how he had to struggle everyday as a teaching assistant. How their salaries are never reviewed in line with inflation (and when they do get reviewed the salaries are meaningless because inflation sets in the moment salary increases are announced), how he lost three girlfriends because of the distance.

He stays in Gweru and had met his girlfriends one at a time in Gweru but as each relationship died and he acquired another one he soon lost her to the capital city (Harare). Each had migrated in search for greener pastures. He spoke of how both of them attempted to keep the fires burning to no avail because of the ever increasing transport and communication costs.

It costs about one million two hundred dollars to travel to Harare and about 30 000 to send an SMS. He said he could not remember the last time he had been to a movie and attributed this to the breakdown of all his relationships.

Movies and popcorn all now seem to be luxuries to him. It is indeed an unfortunate situation that’s happening in Zimbabwe. Inflation is now breaking down people’s relationships and the very social fabric of our society.