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Not just a career, but a true calling

By Azande Ralephenya.

Zandile Shabangu, an Educational Psychologist at VUT's Student Counselling Department is testament to the fact that one can pursue their passion while working a 9 to 5 job. Not only is she exceptionally qualified in the field of psychology and working with children, she's a media enthusiast who found ways to merge both passions and make them work for her.

Appearing on SABC 1's, The Daily Thetha Show, as part of a panel of experts, Shabangu shared her thoughts on the topic - "The biggest mistake I've ever made in my first year." This topic resonated with her because she's the First Year Experience (FYE) coordinator for student counselling at VUT. She enjoys helping people and wants to reach and help positively influence as many minds as she can through her work. Taking part in debates and the exchange of ideas and opinions is what she's also known for. Not being shy, Zandile enthusiastically shares that she's often requested to feature on radio programmes as a subject matter expert. She's shared her commentary on YFM, VUT FM and is also a regular commentator on Ligwalagwala FM, she recalls having an on air conversation with KZN's MEC of Education on a pressing issue concerning education and teachers' ethics. Shabangu has also contributed content for You Magazine and Your Baby magazine, she was also a feature writer in True Love Magazine' s January 2017 issue.

Being exposed in the media is a bridge between her expertise and the public. She notes that not everyone can afford to pay a R900 consultation fee to see a psychologist, however, being on radio and sharing her expertise in publications, affords the public an opportunity to get free advice.

Running a private practice after hours and during the weekend, Shabangu says this is not just a career but a calling for her. Although she initially started working with children, when she joined the VUT team in 2014, she had to adjust and get used to the idea of working with young adults, it's been a transition which she says was smooth and she's thoroughly enjoying interacting with the students.