24 July 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
Office dynamo obtains masters in reconciliation- nathlene van wyk
Nathlene van Wyk, Office Manager for the Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, at the Winter Graduations in Bloemfontein.

Nathlene van Wyk hails from the rural town of Douglas in the Northern Cape, but this dynamic Office Manager for the Dean: Faculty of Theology and Religion has a knack with people, having obtained her undergraduate and honours degrees in Industrial Psychology. At a graduation ceremony held on 28 June 2018 at the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS), Nathlene also received her Master’s Degree in Reconciliation and Social Cohesion.

Devoted mother, avid student

Nathlene credits her success to the support system she had within her family. She says: “I would never have been able to complete this degree without the support of my husband, Feris. I spent my Saturdays and Sundays in the office, busy writing and doing assignments while he looked after our two daughters, aged three and five, and made sure everything at home ran smoothly.”

In addition, Nathlene experienced her mother’s loving support. She says: “I have much to be grateful for towards my mom, Maureen Morolong. As a single mother, she went to great lengths to ensure that I gained a good education. On days that things were especially difficult, her prayers and encouragement carried me through. She often repeated the saying: ‘It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.’ This kept me motivated when the days seemed too short and discouragement set in.”

Brimming with pride
Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, says of Nathlene’s achievement: “I am immensely proud of Nathlene. To study for a master’s degree while keeping up with a demanding position at the faculty, as well as the responsibilities of being a wife and mother is not easy. The university at large and the faculty in particular are still in a process of transformation and I think the research Nathlene did will benefit us in our efforts to transform the university.”

Nathlene says: “I always had an interest in social and political issues. With continued protest, interracial conflict, inequality and poverty, it became clear to me that 23 years after the dawn of democracy, our country is still very much battling to rid itself of the traumatic legacies of apartheid. For me, this is why the whole notion of reconciliation needs to be rethought and re-evaluated. Completing this degree allowed me to do just that: To critically evaluate our current state of affairs while applying theoretical frameworks that can help us to explain and understand our society better.”

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