Thandokazi Maseti says joining Wits University as one of the youngest lecturers in the department of family medicine and pursuing a career as a lecturer was a big surprise. However, what served as a bigger surprise was becoming a lecturer that was not linked to what she was formally trained in during her university years.
Maseti studied for a master’s and PhD in psychology. Getting a scholarship opportunity to study for her PhD at a university in the United States was one she received and yet lost. However, Maseti didn’t let that mistake get her down. She persisted and applied for it at a South African university and got her PhD. She has been lecturing and working as an academic in her current field for the past six years. “This was never part of my academic plan, and yet it has become the most fulfilling job I’ve ever done,” she says.
Maseti is someone who has strived to go against the odds. She says that she knows she works in a space where she is not really expected to exist. This has pushed her to success. “I want to see black women safe and happy, so I keep on waking up, doing a little to ensure we can live in a world where that is a possibility,” she says.
Maseti is passionate about furthering her own career and advancement but also those of the students and academics around her. She wants to see a transformed culture in higher education, in which young black women students and academics don’t have to deal with the struggles of belonging in academia on the basis of their gender and race. “I hope that the conversations we have on race and transforming institutional cultures lead to changed attitudes that will in turn reflect on transformed lived experiences,” she says.