From domestic worker to associate professor, the story of Venecia McGhie

Dr Venecia McGhie, the head of the Department of Academic Development at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of the Western Cape will next month be an associate professor.

McGhie had to toughen up after her parents died in her teens and had to learn how to fend for herself. She found work as a domestic worker in order to provide for her family and later joined UWC as a data capturing clerk.

After my father died everything just went south... one of my aunt's friends found me a job as a domestic worker which I just took because it was just about survival.

Dr Venecia McGhie, the head of the Department of Academic Development at UWC

I thought to myself this won't last forever. I definitely know I can do better and still now I always try to be the best I can be.

Dr Venecia McGhie, the head of the Department of Academic Development at UWC

My whole life is based on faith.

Dr Venecia McGhie, the head of the Department of Academic Development at UWC

McGhie says after working as a domestic worker for several months, she got a job at a shoe factory and that's where she started studying part-time.

While I was at a shoe factory I saw an ad that Potchefstroom University was looking for two coloured administrators and so I applied.

Dr Venecia McGhie, the head of the Department of Academic Development at UWC

People thought I was crazy and said to me you will never get it because you don't have qualifications...

Dr Venecia McGhie, the head of the Department of Academic Development at UWC

I said I have faith and I believe in God. I went for interviews and they appointed me. I worked there for six years.

Dr Venecia McGhie, the head of the Department of Academic Development at UWC

She says she now works with first-year students from difficult backgrounds and she tries to inspire them because she understands their situation.

McGhie is also a motivational speaker who travels different places to inspire people to be the best they can be.

I encourage other people to tell their stories because we need role models and we need success stories.

Dr Venecia McGhie, the head of the Department of Academic Development at UWC

To hear the rest of the discussion with Dr Venecia McGhie, listen below:


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