July 13, 2024

CHARTING A VISIONARY COURSE: Dlamini Elected As The Chairperson Of TUT Association Of Pharmacy Students

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Her leadership philosophy revolves around understanding her team, promoting unity, and initiating professional relationships.

FILE PHOTO: Wendy Dlamini has assume the role of being the Chairperson of TUT Association Of Pharmacy Students. PICTURE: Supplied

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PRETORIA: Makhosazane Wendy Dlamini shares her journey, motivations, and plans for her new role.

In the field of pharmacy education, leadership is an important component that can mould the future of students and the profession as a whole. Makhosazane Wendy Dlamini, a third-year Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPHARM) student at the Tshwane University of Technology, is a perfect example of a young leader with a vision. Through a detailed interview, she shared her journey, motivations and plans for her new role.

Her path in pharmacy and student associations demonstrates her unwavering dedication and tenacity. Originally hailing from Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, she ventured into pharmacy after securing a degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

Her leadership journey began in high school where she took on different roles which showcased her teachable nature, integrity and courage to become a leader. One notable role she took on in high school was when she oversaw the design and execution of her high school’s matric jacket project, showcasing her adaptability and strong sense of character.

Despite facing challenges in the early stages of her pursuit of leadership in university, she kept trying as she recognised her passion for helping her fellow students find their way in an unfamiliar environment and giving them a voice.

This all led her to take on roles as a Class Representative and a Deputy Class Representative, eventually landing her the position of Public Relations Officer for the Association of Pharmacy Students. Although her journey was filled with challenges and setbacks in her pursuit of the class representative role, she managed to stay motivated to address the inconsistencies and issues within the student association.

She observed a lack of unity and understanding among students about the association’s purpose, which fuelled her desire to make a difference and be the voice for pharmacy students.

Dlamini’s personal growth and leadership development have been essential to her journey. She stated that “it is important to have principles, values, and a teachable spirit.”

Her leadership philosophy revolves around understanding her team, promoting unity, and initiating professional relationships. She firmly believes that successful leadership requires a commitment to self-improvement and a focus on principles and values.

As the new Chairperson for the 2023/2024 academic year, she has a clear vision for the TUT Association of Pharmacy Students. “My primary goal is to foster unity among students, creating a sense of community and teamwork.”

FILE PHOTO: Wendy Dlamini shares her journey, motivations, and plans for her new role. PICTURE: Supplied

To achieve this, she plans to introduce initiatives such as team-building sessions and a “PRE-MEET and GREET” to enhance communication and harmony among students, especially first-year students. She also intends to establish a donation bank to secure funding for student activities, including helping students in need with essential items.

She believes in the power of community support and plans to engage with companies and individuals to provide financial assistance. Also, she wants to build question banks to help students prepare for exams, start paint-and-sip drives to address mental health and well-being and improve the mentorship program to make the shift to problem-based learning easier.

In light of her appointment as the chairperson of the TUT Association of Pharmacy Students, she has identified the lack of accommodation for pharmacy students as a significant challenge, impacting teamwork and accessibility to the campus. She also acknowledges the challenge of limited bursaries for pharmacy students and aims to collaborate with the Feenix organization to address this issue.

In terms of opportunities, she sees potential in the evolving pharmacy landscape. Emerging trends like the Pharmacist-Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Therapy (PIMART) reflect the changing role of pharmacists.

Dlamini envisions pharmacy students playing an essential role in public health, especially in combating HIV and ensuring access to testing, prevention, and treatment services. Dlamini sheds light on the importance of partnerships and collaborations in achieving the association’s goals.

Past collaborations with companies like Standard Bank have helped fund student initiatives. She plans to approach various companies, including Clicks, Dischem, and Shoprite, to seek support for student activities.

In addition, the association plans to engage in debates with other institutions to maintain relationships and stay updated on pharmaceutical industry developments.

She emphasizes the importance of ensuring student support and resource availability for academic success. The mentorship program, personalized therapy sessions with campus psychologists, and communication with the department head are integral to this effort.

The association also promotes team-building sessions to boost productivity and encourages students to prioritize self-care and mental well-being. All being said, her advice to aspiring leaders is to stay dedicated, disciplined and focused.

She stresses the importance of knowing oneself and understanding team members. Effective leadership involves being open, approachable, and upstanding. She encourages leaders to be teachable, listen to unspoken words, and learn soft skills like communication. 

She stated that the association aims to guide students in choosing career paths that align with their interests. It provides education on different specialities within pharmacy, including new trends such as technology-driven patient management.

“In a world dominated by social media influencers, they should hold themselves accountable for the content they produce as the internet is forever. They should ensure that their content is constructive and brings about a positive impact in society,” said Dlamini.

 She addressed the lack of a moral fibre within the youth and stated that there is no functional environment without morals as morals correlate with respect, peace and compassion. She further stated that the youth needs to build up their moral compass as we live in the age of the social media boom where people are easily influenced by social media with the youth leading the way through trendsetting. The content they put out should build societies in a positive way so as to have a functional society.

She reflects on her desire to inspire change, foster unity among students, and impact the lives of those she serves. She emphasizes the importance of principles and values in leadership and hopes her chairmanship will inspire others to believe in the possibility of making a significant impact.  

Dlamini is a young leader with a vision, dedicated to shaping the future of pharmacy education and student leadership. Her journey, motivations, and plans are a testament to the power of dedication and principled leadership in creating positive change within pharmacy education.

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