Dudu always dreamt about studying at a university and becoming a political scientist. Here she is with her father during her graduation ceremony at the NWU in Vanderbijlpark
“I realised that the purpose of my life is to be of service to others. I literally wanted to wake up in the mornings and start to change lives,” says Dudu Mkhwanazi, the CEO of Project Isizwe.
More about Dudu
Dudu says her daughter, Robyn, motivates her to keep on advocating for future change.
She describes motherhood and executive management as “an interesting challenge” and says balance is the key to success.
She wants her legacy to be that of empowerment and change – especially in the way people access information.
Dudu bridges the digital divide
Meet Dudu Mkhwanazi, the newly appointed CEO of Project Isizwe, self-proclaimed internet-access evangelist and proud alumna of the North-West University.
Dudu (26), studied at the NWU’s campus in Vanderbijlpark from 2009 to 2012, obtaining a BA and a BAHons in political science. She enjoyed an active student life and served on the Campus Student Representative Council for 2012/13 as Constitution and Societies Officer.
A strong academic contender, she was also a tutor in the Political Science and Environmental History subject groups.It was during this time that she started her first paying job – as a research support assistant at the then School of Behavioural Sciences. “I thought I had it made,” remembers Dudu, adding that as early as Grade 8, she was already dreaming of studying and becoming a political scientist.
Growing up as the eldest of five children, however, Dudu says she had to work extremely hard for bursaries and opportunities to pursue her undergraduate and postgraduate education.
After completing her BA and honours studies at the NWU, she completed a master’s degree in public policy analysis at the Université Montpellier in the south-east of France. Returning to South Africa in 2014, Dudu found herself driven to make a difference to the lives of ordinary citizens.
Dudu served as the operations manager for the Democratic Alliance, and as a strategic political advisor for the member of the mayoral committee (MMC) of Group Corporate and Shared Services at the Johannesburg Metro Council. However, she felt that she was not making enough inroads in reaching the men and women on grassroots level. With her experience in the political environment, Dudu took a leap of faith and joined Project Isizwe to “really engage and serve fellow South Africans”.
Advocating for free Wi-Fi Dudu – who describes herself as an activist for free Wi-Fi – says she is committed to making the internet, as a tool to empower, accessible to those in low socio-economic circumstances.
She sees her position at Project Isizwe as an opportunity to further lobby for government-subsidised internet access within walking distance of every South African.
“I believe in being part of an organisation that not only sets out to change people’s lives but also rewrites the history books as far as empowerment is concerned,” says Dudu, adding that over the next five years, the project hopes to connect in access of 20 million South Africans to the internet.
Tshwifi Tv marked Women’s Day this year by introducing Duduzile Mkhwanazi as its chief executive officer and voice for Project Isizwe. Clickhere to watch the video.
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Dudu completed a master’s degree in public policy analysis at the Université Montpellier in France. Here she is during her study period abroad.