The Covid-19 pandemic presented its fair share of challenges in terms of online learning, but this mother-daughter duo displayed resilience while navigating the virtual classroom at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
The 49-year-old Alison Geduld and 23-year-old Savannah Steyn recently graduated in July. Alison described this momentous occasion as a “celebration of many things” and a “gift of resilience.”
According to IOL, Alison graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice while Savannah graduated with a BA in Theatre & Performance, specialising in Theatre Making. Savannah was awarded a scholarship from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation for achieving outstanding results and now plans to further her studies in pursuit of an MA in Applied Theatre.
This joint milestone came as a result of promise Alison made to Savannah and her sister, Dakota Steyn, who is a third-year student at UCT.
“I told them, ‘I’ll go back to school when you two are enrolled at university’,” Alison said per the university website.
Alison’s academic journey was cut short due to financial constraints as she only managed to complete her first year of studies in marketing and sales at Cape Technikon (now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology) in 1991. She then decided to join the workforce to alleviate some of the financial burden shouldered by her parents.
However, when her youngest daughter, Dakota, completed her first year at UCT in 2019, Alison followed through with her promise and submitted her application to the UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB). She didn’t think anything would come of it but was ecstatic once her offer letter arrived.
According to the university, Alison joined UCT as a staff member in 2009 and was promoted to business developer in 2011. She was bumped up to marketing coordinator a year later but was retrenched five years after.
But all doubts and fears dissipated when Alison stepped into the lecture hall as a UCT student, IOL adds.
Lockdown has presented both challenges and opportunities for the Geduld family and one of the silver linings has been time spent together.
“We became a study squad and support team for each other,” said Alison.
“We read each other’s work, gave input and chatted about approaches. It was a very collaborative and fulfilling time.”
After their graduation celebrations, the Geduld study squad are back at it. Alison plans to enrol for an Executive MBA at the UCT GSB and will manage with her work as a senior analyst at Accenture South Africa.
Dakota is in the process of completing the final year of her Bachelor of Social Science, with a triple major in English Literature and Language, Gender Studies, and Media and Writing.