Mildreat overcomes mom’s death, pregnancy to obtain Master of Commerce
The loss of her mother to breast cancer two months before enrolling for the degree, finding out she was pregnant shortly before the start of her first block of lectures and going into labour in the evening before crucial tests did not stop her from completing the qualification.
She persisted with her studies, and will today graduate with a MCom degree in development finance.
Muroyiwa, the youngest of four siblings raised by a single mother, hails from Mpopoma, a township in the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
She is the only member of her family to receive a university education.
According to UCT, Muroyiwa found out that she was pregnant just before the start of her first block of lectures at the university’s Graduate School of Business in February 2017, making her pregnancy part of her experience of studying towards the Master’s degree.
Muroyiwa says of being pregnant while studying: “I honestly hoped the baby would be born after the block, but as life would have it, I went into labour one Saturday evening before two important class tests that would contribute to my overall course mark.
“I so hoped the pain was fake, so much so that I carried my notebooks to the delivery ward. My classmates even nicknamed my baby, ‘Baby MCom’.
“I have always refused to let people dictate what I can and cannot do. While some thought, and intimated that, it was difficult or even impossible to study while pregnant, I was determined to pursue my dream.”
Her determination stemmed from her ambition to positively transform the lives of people, particularly women.
This was her reason for enrolling for the development finance course at UCT’s Graduate School of Business.
Her little daughter, Imani, was her constant companion as she wrote her thesis, and Muroyiwa has decided to bring her along to today’s graduation ceremony.
“She must at least be in the class photo,” she said.
Muroyiwa chose the topic, the profitability of savings groups in South Africa, for her Master’s thesis.
Her childhood in Zimbabwe inspired her to choose the topic; her memories of her mother, as a single parent, knitting jerseys and participating in savings groups to earn enough income to send her four children to school.
“Such work resonates with my heart and passion - and to have instruments that uplift the poorest out of poverty. Savings groups are a financial inclusion tool that could help communities to do so,” she said.
“I had dreaded statistics all my life, but for my thesis, there was no dodging this bullet.
“With the support of my supervisors and the head of development finance research, I have obtained a distinction, and I am overjoyed about this. It was worth the nights of data analysis.”