Call me doctor: Muvhango actress Vho Masindi completes her PhD in TshiVenda

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Local actress Regina Nesengani populalry known as Vho Masindi on Muvhango has completed her Phd from UNISA.
Local actress Regina Nesengani populalry known as Vho Masindi on Muvhango has completed her Phd from UNISA.
Regina Nesengani / Supplied

She is woman of many talents: she's on TV daily playing Chief Azwindini's mother on Muvhango and has also been working hard on a personal goal - getting her PhD. 

Local actress Regina Nesengani, popularly known as Vho-Masindi, has been completed her doctorate at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

The actress did her thesis in TshiVenda, focusing on women abuse through dialogue in drama books written by male writers. She argued that  because most of drama books were written by men, women are often portrayed in a very negative light and are hardly portrayed as intelligent creatures who can think and make decisions for themselves.

She says that she chose to do her thesis in TshiVenda because she wanted to emphasise to people that it is also an official language in South Africa.

The former teacher who was born in Tshianzwane village, Limpopo, started teaching in 1975 after completing her Primary Teachers' Course at Tshisimani Training College.

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The 65-year-old is a granny to 12 grandchildren and she completed her master’s degree while she worked as a primary school teacher, she also a radio drama actor and has been in the acting industry for more than 30 years.

Her role as Masindi on Muvhango was her first television role and she has stayed on while the show has undergone multiple changes over the years.

After listening to an interview of an old lady on SAFM who had just graduated with a PhD, Regina says that she was motivated to pursue her Phd as age was nothing more than a number.

"I was very inspired by this lady.  I said if she can do it so can I. I had a master’s degree there was nothing stopping me from pursuing a PhD," she says.

She has also highlighted that because of the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) in her community, she decided to focus her thesis on how women were portrayed not in society but also in books and television.

"I realized that women were not happy in their homes. I was also touched by many stories of women who were abused by their partners.  I was shocked that this was happening in 2020 with all the awareness and education on GBV."

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After completing her master’s Regina started doing more research on the topic of GBV and found  and she found disturbing truths about the topic dating from the early 70’s.

“I discovered women that were abused in the Bible. I was shocked to learn that even women abused each other.  I then made a proposal to my supervisor around the topic and I got approval to proceed with the topic."

Regina says she hopes her study will add to the body of literature and knowledge on GBV issues.

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