It is with a great sense of joy and excitement that the Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Mapfumo informs the University Community that the University of Zimbabwe Librarian is now Dr Agnes Chitsidzo Chikonzo. She graduated with a PhD degree in Information Science from the University of Pretoria on 9 April 2019.
In her thesis, The roles of social media in disseminating HIV/AIDS information to young people aged 18-24 in Harare, Zimbabwe, Dr Chikonzo developed a model to improve the dissemination of HIV/AIDS information to young people in Harare. The model will for the first time, unite all Zimbabwean organizations involved in disseminating HIV/AIDS information to focus the roles of social media on a specifically targeted group.
Dr A. Chikonzo
The model is especially sensitive to the importance of the indigenous languages of Ndebele, Shona and Venda, and it specifies links with national, regional and global organizations. A special counselling role elaborates formal and informal teaching and the model has the potential of extending the improved dissemination roles of social media to other cities in Zimbabwe.
Narrating her journey to attaining the highly sought after qualification, an elated Dr Chikonzo said, ‘Doctor’ - a title I had only dreamt of, a dream I never thought would come to fruition. I am still pinching myself, in awe of how I reached the finish line of a race that many attempted to run but couldn’t complete. Growing up as a woman, I was blessed to have a father who, despite living in such a patriarchal society, saw the importance of the education of the girl child. His support spurred me on to become a woman who personifies the famous quote, “Learning never ends.” He always mentioned how it would make him and my mother happy to have a “doctor” in the family. Unfortunately, I don’t have the tools for surgery, but I believe this achievement would make him proud either way.
4 years, 1460 days, 35 040 hours. Time seemed to be never ceasing, never accelerating, never ending. Sometimes it felt impossible to juggle days spent at work, with nights spent nose-deep in my studies. The winter months, in particular, were a tough uphill battle - tucked under the comfort of a blanket but suffering from the weight of expectation. When others were sleeping early to survive the cold, I had to brave the comments of my supervisor, who obviously meant well, but left me feeling disheartened at the same time. This was surely the hardest part of my journey; when you think you’ve hit the nail right on the head, but the nail hasn’t even scratched the surface. There were days when I felt like crumbling under the pressure, but thanks to my ever-supportive family, friends and colleagues, I was able to overcome the obstacles I encountered. And on Tuesday the 9th of April, at 1500hrs, a wave of relief swept over me. Initially, doubts were spinning around my mind: Was my name on the programme? Had I met all the criteria? Was there a seat reserved for me?
As my citation was being read out, all my worries washed away and were replaced by pure bliss, joy and pride. There I was, standing clad in my red robe, 1 of 3 doctoral students graduating that day. Waiting for my turn to be capped, I wished my late father was still alive to witness this day. Seeing my 85-year-old mother smiling in the crowd - with all the sacrifices that she had made for me to succeed - confirmed that her hard work and determination was not all for nothing. “Veni, vidi, vici. – I came, I saw, I conquered.”
I would like to express my gratitude to the University of Zimbabwe for granting me the time away from work to fulfill my dreams. A big thank you must go to my supervisor, Professor Archie Dick, for his constant belief in me and ‘never-say-die’ attitude. His positive outlook and confidence in my research inspired me and gave me confidence; my husband, Kuziwa, for taking care of the children while I was away in Pretoria as well as giving me an opportunity to develop myself; and to my kids, Tanatswa and Takudzwa, for pushing me on when this feat seemed unattainable. And last, but not least, to God – without Him, this would not have been possible’.
Congratulations Dr Chikonzo on this outstanding feat. Well done!