Durban – A Durban mother, who is the first black woman to graduate with a PhD in leisure and recreation from the University of KwaZulu Natal, is hoping to change the lives of children living with disabilities.
Khumbuzile Khumalo, fondly known as KK, recently graduated from the College of Health Sciences.
Her PhD is entitled “The development of a policy framework for physical activity and sport for children with disabilities in schools in disadvantaged communities in KwaZulu-Natal”.
Her study resulted in a policy framework for physical activity and sport for children with disabilities (CWD) in schools in disadvantaged communities in KZN.
“The provision of sport facilities and equipment suitable for CWDs requires a collaborative effort between the Department of Sport and Recreation and the community stakeholders to address long-standing barriers,” said Khumalo.
In developing the policy framework, Khumalo ensured that CWDs and their families contributed significantly, thereby ensuring that their voices were heard.
The new policy framework that aims to enhance the physical activity of CWDs will be presented to the Department of Sport and Recreation with the intention of it being adopted and implemented in KwaZulu-Natal, especially in schools based in poorly resourced communities.
“I have a passion to work with people with disabilities. Currently, I am a member of the interim UKZN Division of Sport Union Executive Sport Organising Committee.
“Last year, we launched the UKZN Disability Sports and Leisure Association. This association included all students with disabilities on all UKZN campuses.”
Khumalo, who works at UKZN, was born in a township called Steadville in Ladysmith.
She has one son who graduated with a PhD in genetics from Stellenbosch University in 2017 and lives and works in Norway.
In her free time, Khumalo enjoys reading, socialising, travelling, and going to church.
She thanked all those who supported her during her studies, including family members, Bongiwe Gumede, colleagues, and Dr SB Radebe for their encouragement and inspiring words of support that enabled her to reach her final destination.
She described her supervisors, Professor Rowena Naidoo and Professor Verusia Chetty, as her “beacons of hope”.
“Both my supervisors believed in my passion for CWDS, my ability to complete my PhD and supported me all the way.”
Naidoo and Chetty said: “We believe that team work is key, and as supervisors we believe that supporting a candidate and making them believe in themselves is key to succeeding.
“We are excited to share KK’s policy framework with the related governing structures.”