It was a day of great jubilation for UKZN senior lecturer Professor Shakila Singh when her two daughters were awarded postgraduate degrees at the same Graduation ceremony.
Ms Shivani Reddy graduated with a Master of Occupational Therapy degree while her sister, Devanya, received a Bachelor of Sports Science-Exercise Science (Honours) degree.
Shivani’s research was titled: Long Term Outpatient Therapy: Perspectives from Acquired Brain Injury Survivors, their Caregivers and the Therapy Team: A KZN Study.
The study focused on an NGO in KwaZulu-Natal which provides long-term outpatient care for individuals with acquired brain injuries who have challenges reintegrating into society. The aim was to create awareness around this type of care and the need for it.
Some of Shivani’s findings included the type of organisation in her study and the care given, provide a great deal of social support for individuals with acquired brain injuries, and allow them to participate in meaningful and constructive occupations which they may not have the opportunity to do in the outside world.
Meanwhile, Devanya’s study was titled: The Most Prevalent Injuries Amongst Male Junior High School Soccer Players Within Selected Schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
Devanya is currently doing her internship at The Sharks Academy as a strength and conditioning specialist, a personal trainer and also works as a brand coach for Adidas.
She is working towards completing her master’s degree part-time under the supervision of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences (BELS) academic leader, Dr Rowena Naidoo, and Khulekani Dlamini.
Her master’s research involves examining the effects of implementing a high-jump training programme on the explosive power of specific positions in rugby.
‘I am grateful for the opportunity to study at an institution such as UKZN and I can proudly say that I studied something that I genuinely love and am passionate about. I am very privileged and grateful to have achieved what I have,’ Devanya said.
She thanked Shivani for using her as a life-sized anatomy dummy to study when she was in undergrad, ‘If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have passed anatomy.
‘It was really helpful to have a sister who was in Health Science previously and who suffered through physiology and understood my pain. She was not only an emotional support system and my emotional punching bag, but also my personal tutor, mentor and role-model.’
‘I feel very proud and relieved at the same time to have accomplished this,’ said Shivani. ‘It was a long process with many ups and downs, but it was worth it. Our mother is a professor with many achievements, so we have big shoes to fill.’
Shivani is currently an Occupational Therapist at the Andiswa Gowa Practice, doing medicolegal work.
The sisters spoke highly of their family’s support, ‘Our family has always been very supportive of our studies and is very proud of everything we’ve achieved. My mom has been such a huge inspiration to our family with all her achievements, so the importance of education and the prestige of being an academic has been instilled in us from a very young age.’
Words: Nombuso Dlamini