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Fears forgotten, Students first

- Wits University

“I want this University to know there is nothing I wouldn’t do for it.”

Love for the University drove Tau Mmanchidi

“We all have our problems and I try to always be happy because I know I am here for the students and to show that it is possible to be happy even when you have other issues.”

When staff members were called to return to campus in 2020 during the covid-19 national lockdown employees over the age of 60 and those with co-morbidities such as active or on treatment for cancer, diabetes, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, were advised to work from home.

Tau Mmanchidi, a technical assistant in the School of Electrical & Information Engineering, took on the job of three co-workers who due to comorbidities and other reasons could not return to campus.

“I remember we were still in lockdown level five, I just wanted to get out of the house, I didn’t think about being scared I just wanted to be out there doing something to help, I knew I was going to take the precautionary measures needed to stay safe,” said Mmanchidi.

He  is mostly based in the computer labs, doing the day to day running of the computer lab, providing support for any and every Information Technology work related problem in the computer lab, whether it’s for staff members or students and early on in the 2020 lockdown he singlehandedly kept the School’s electronics workshop and IT  network running.

Mmanchidi says he drew his motivation from the fact that fourth year students needed to come back to do their lab-based projects and there was no other way around those projects and students had to return.

“My other colleagues couldn’t come in and I saw this an opportunity to help. With the lockdown came some restrictions around shipping and I had to find new ways to communicate with suppliers to get lab-based components that could not be substituted on time for the students to be able to complete the year,” says Mmnanchidi.

He describes himself as a selfless, humble and an easy guy to speak to. He recalls how his biggest fear every day when leaving the house was whether he might take the virus to the students that he interacts with and not so much his own health. He attributes this to his environment saying: “Being a part of this school is the best thing ever cause our staff are friendly, we can interact with each other whether it's academics or not it doesn't matter because we are all friends here and we are willing to help each other when we get stuck.”

Mmanchidi is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in Computer Sciences as part of a long-term goal and aspiration to one day, hopefully be the Chief Information Officer at Wits University. “I want this University to know there is nothing I wouldn’t do for it.”