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A star performer that brings chemistry in Chemistry

- Wits University

Service Excellence Award winner has earned several prizes including the ‘coach Rassie Erasmus’ certificate.

Khwezi Ndawonde is one of the recipients of the Vice-Chancellors Awards aimed at recognising Service Excellence amongst Wits staff

Khwezi Ndawonde, an Academic Administrator, has been awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Service Excellence for Professional and Administrative Staff, for her invaluable support to the staff and students in the School of Chemistry.  

The award was presented at the annual Council/Senate Dinner and Vice-Chancellors Awards. The prestigious annual awards recognise staff excellence in categories including research, teaching and learning, and professional and administrative services. Winners receive a generous cash prizes.

Ndawonde who joined the University in 2005 and became a member of the School of Chemistry in 2011 has been described as a perfectly professional, invariably calm and yet consistently friendly with staff and students alike, a repository of important facts and a faultless compiler of information.

She performs a great many and varied roles, managing all matters pertaining to the administration of undergraduate and postgraduate affairs in the School, entering marks, organising appointment letters for external examiners, arranging school events (lecture and test venue bookings, workshops, meetings and the catering of School events); coordinating postgraduate tutors/teaching assistant duties and payments, exam time-table, recording the minutes of School Executive meetings; working with donors, capturing publications and is even a shoulder to cry on for staff and students alike.

The School of Chemistry has more than 3000 students and 62 full-time staff who count on her.

The Adjudicating Committee agreed that her nomination, submitted by the School, demonstrated that she is committed to innovation, customer service, accountability and reliability – which are critical in a pressured service environment.

Driven by family and the support of colleagues

Twelve years ago when she was interviewed for the position of admin assistant at the School, one of the questions posed was about her capacity to work with people.

This question has lingered throughout the years and is at the heart of her engagements with staff and students. Over the years she has progressed from being an assistant to taking on a full suite of responsibilities as an Academic Administrator.

“As a front-liner you need a big heart and patience otherwise you won’t survive,” says the mother of three whose office spots several internal certificates such as the TLC award, the ‘coach Rassie Erasmus’ award, to name a few.

On a personal level, Ndawonde says her work ethic is informed by the desire to build a better life for her children. The encouragement of supportive colleagues who have paved the way to more professional responsibilities also keeps her motivated to deliver her best.

“This place is like a second home, we just take care of each other,” she says warmly.