Engineer Attains MBA Cum Laude Despite Challenges

MBA cum laude graduate, Mr Msizi Nzama
Mr Msizi Nzama, who graduated cum laude for his MBA with his sons, (left) Mr Langalethu Nzama and (right) Mr Andile Nzama.

Mechanical Engineer and cyclist from Umlazi, Mr Msizi Nzama was awarded his Master of Business Administration (MBA) cum laude.

Nzama demonstrated remarkable resilience from surviving a divorce, getting hit by a car while cycling – resulting in a four-week hospital stay, and undergoing multiple operations including two jaw reconstructions, teeth implants and hundreds of stitches all while completing his qualifications at the UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership Studies (GSBL).

‘My jaws were literally locked for some six weeks post the accident, surviving on liquids only.’ He said, ‘The accident caused serious strains on my physical being, but perhaps mourning the loss of my wife in the divorce is what has had the biggest detriment on my mental and emotional well-being.’

He also lost the home where he and his family lived, leading to multiple relocations with his children. Life changed rapidly for him, demanding a quick adaptation to new circumstances.

‘My studies and work became my place of escape, particularly in 2023. More than anything else, I am grateful to be alive.’

Currently a Group Leader at Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Nzama plans to leverage the wisdom and insights gained during his MBA to redefine leadership dynamics. His study titled: Exploring the Leadership Role in Promoting Water Sustainability in Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) Phoenix, examined the challenges and influence of leadership in promoting water sustainability.

‘An MBA, especially from a prestigious institution like UKZN, is immensely valuable. I look forward to influencing the leadership space at the workplace, and utilising the knowledge I acquired in this journey,’ he said.

He added that graduating with a master’s degree is nothing short of a miracle for him and his family, and he looks forward to the process of registering for his PhD.

‘It is difficult for my family to understand how I managed to achieve this qualification, given what they saw me go through. I thank God for them and all credit goes to them, as they were my primary source of strength through this journey.’

Words: Samukelisiwe Cele

Photograph: Sethu Dlamini

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