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.