UKZN’s oldest graduate is an inspiration to everyone

2015-04-22 00:00

AGED 71, Mlungisi Vilakazi received his PhD in Theology as the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s oldest graduate this year.

Vilakazi began the journey to obtaining his degree in 2007 and, in a press release by UKZN, said his age had not deterred him from pursuing his studies.

He became an inspiration to his family and friends, with his children buying their father a laptop to make studying for his degree a little easier.

Vilakazi said he was excited that he had finally received his degree.

He retired from his work in the Anglican Church after 43 years in 2011, but then decided that studying would enable him to make a more fundamental contribution to the church.

UKZN’s statement said his study analysed “the large parochial structure model for black parishes in the Anglican Church” in South Africa.

His study evaluated interaction between the mission station, the main parish and the smaller congregations.

Vilakazi hopes that through his research and recommendations, the standings of the smaller congregations would be enhanced. “Outstation ­congregations need to be enabled to participate as fully-fledged development district models under a re-trained leader as the rector. The new model needs more exposure, which is wider than the local church,” he said.

The statement said Vilakazi’s study drew on his 43 years of experience as a community priest, his intimate knowledge of the challenges faced by black congregations, as well as his conviction that the church should be at the forefront of social transformation.

Vilakazi told UKZN that he hoped to publish his research in an academic journal and to continue to live life to the fullest.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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