How Dr Venicia McGhie went from domestic worker to UWC professor


    Dr. Venicia McGhie’s life story continues to inspire.

    From humble beginnings as a domestic worker to achieving her Ph.D. in Education from Stellenbosch University.

    And as of next January, McGhie will be an associate professor under the Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) Faculty at the UWC.

    “I (have) worked very hard and I am grateful that senior management recognized my efforts.

    “I am hoping to use this position to empower other colleagues, students, and the broader community,” said McGhie of her appointment.

    McGhie was raised in Potchefstroom.

    Her parents died when she was a teenager, and McGhie dropped out of school in Grade 10 and found work as a domestic worker to support her family.

    She went on to work in a shoe factory and as a taxi driver to supplement her income. Thereafter, she obtained a position as an administrative clerk at Northwest University.

    In December 1985, McGhie moved to the Western Cape with her two children.

    She joined UWC on September 1, 1988, as a data capturing clerk in the student administration offices and studied part-time towards a BA Degree majoring in Linguistics, English, and isiXhosa for second-language speakers.

    Still working at UWC, she moved on to do her Master’s degree and then decided to do a Higher Diploma in Education as well.

    In 2002, she became a lecturer in the EMS Faculty, teaching Academic Literacy for Commerce, and also continued her studies.

    She now holds a Ph.D. in Education from Stellenbosch University and is a senior lecturer and head of the Academic Development Department in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

    She was also granted the Fulbright Post-Doctoral scholarship in for 2014 and she focused on first-year students’ learning challenges and interventions to support students to succeed in passing all their subjects at the end of their first year.

    The trailblazer has been through trials and tribulations and still persists to be the best she can be.

    “I am not perfect and made many mistakes, but I believe in second chances – my whole life is built on second chances.

    “You see, I do not believe in giving up and when you fail at (the) first attempt; it is okay because you are not a failure.

    “It only means that you need to do whatever it is differently,” she added.