22 August 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers
Simonè Nel (Read More)
“When looking at the simply amazing female leadership emerging at the UFS — academic as well as administrative — I see hope and growth,” says Simoné Nel, a member of the management team on the South Campus.

Simoné Nel heads up the Support Services division on the UFS South Campus. Despite challenges during her youth, she learnt the power of strong examples to look up to, and still lives by the mantra she learnt in primary school from her Drum Majorettes coach. She believes that inspiration can come from mundane sources, day-to-day conversations, or even her children; she is the mother of a 10-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. In fact, her best example of teamwork comes from her experiences as mother: “Just watch what happens when a mother is calling frantically for her child if he slips from her grip; EVERYONE helps to find him!”

Tell us about your childhood: What are some of the lessons you learned early on? 

Growing up in the Western Cape, I had a primary school teacher and coach who taught me the value of the saying: “It is not the hours you put in, but what you put into the hours.” I still live by this; trying to make the most of every hour. Both of my parents passed away at a fairly young age, which made this just so much more true. USE your given time and LIVE as much as possible! Take joy in as many experiences as possible – even if it is a seemingly negative experience.

What inspires you?

Intelligent conversations, great music, my daughter’s energy, family time, and compassion in action. Simoné says her definition of compassion in action is: People like the rest of us with full-time jobs, dedicating every little spare time to helping women/children/families in need or distress; friends involved with finding forever homes for abandoned pets; the regular guy in the street helping a child stand up after falling from the curb.

How do you envision the UFS of the future — especially with regard to women's issues? 

When looking at the simply amazing female leadership emerging at the UFS – academic as well as administrative — I see hope and growth. Just page through the latest issue of Dumela or browse our UFS website: These are strong women; not afraid of embracing who they are and with a need to rise up. I am part of an all-girls team at the South Campus (coincidentally!) and we support each other in every possible way. Whether I know them as Prof, Doc, Ma’am, Mom, Sister, Vriendin – they are all Wonder Women to me.

Tell us something no-one (or only a few people) know about you?

I am in love with (a very broad scope of) music, from Beethoven on full volume to some serious rock. Yes, I sing along to my heart’s content. I am also from Scottish decent and admire my cousins in full costume (kilt and all!).

What does ‘success’ mean to you?

My definition of success has certainly taken a 180-degree turn. When I was still a young student, I longed for academic success and to pursue my PhD studies as soon as possible. Now I am a mom and wife — first and foremost — and still working on my master’s degree. At the end of a fruitful day at the office, a glass of wine with my husband, and hugs, kisses, and laughs from my children, I’d say I had a most successful day.

What ‘words of wisdom’ do you always fall back on? 

I learnt this early on, but had it confirmed in JRR Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring: There is always HOPE.

Lastly, my mom taught me this gem: ‘A little kindness goes a long way.’

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