Jul 26, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Cap that! Mom and daughter graduate together at UCT

A promise that a Cape Town mother made to her daughters — that she will enrol at university with them — came to fruition in the past week when she attained her first qualification at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Alison Geduld, 49, was awarded a diploma in management practice at the same time her eldest daughter, Savannah Steyn, graduated with a BA in theatre and performance.

“I told them, ‘I’ll go back to school when you two are enrolled at university’,” said Geduld.

After completing high school, she enrolled for a diploma in marketing and sales at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology when it was still called Cape Technikon in 1991.

However, financial challenges meant she had to drop out after a year and find a job.

Geduld, who went on to hold several administration and communication jobs at UCT, said she decided to pursue her studies again after her youngest daughter, Dakota, finished her first year at the university in 2019.

However, what started as an exciting year in 2020 became bittersweet when Covid-19 struck. Geduld took up the challenge of learning online, and today she is proud to add navigating a virtual classroom to her skill set.

While Steyn’s coursework was largely performance-based and presented a different kind of complexity, she also came out on top, so much so that she was awarded a scholarship from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF).

“We became a study squad and support team for each other. We read each other’s work, gave input and chatted about approaches. It was a very collaborative and fulfilling time,” said Geduld.

Dakota is now in the final year of her bachelor of science studies and Geduld plans to enrol for an executive master of business administration degree at UCT’s Graduate School of Business. She will juggle this with her work as a senior analyst for a leading technology company.

Steyn is furthering her studies in pursuit of a master’s degree in applied theatre.