Durban — A Durban metro police service colonel said graduating with a Master of Commerce in Management was a bittersweet moment.
Colonel Bongiwe Pinkie Gidigidi said: “To finally graduate with a Master of Commerce in Management has been a bittersweet moment for me.
“Taking care of my family while being a full-time mother and employee was not the only drawback to completing a degree in record time.”
Gidigidi’s study title was, “Analysing the influence of absenteeism on Operations in the Durban Metropolitan Police Services”, the aim of which was to examine the contributing factors in the high absenteeism rate in the police organisation and to explore best practices in the management of absenteeism.
Gidigidi said that after she finished matric she studied Electrical Engineering at Cato Manor Technical College and Durban Technical College, now called Thekwini FET Colleges, and obtained an N5. She then worked as a waitress at House of Coffees for about a year. Thereafter Gidigidi worked at Federal Mogul as a machine operator making vehicle bearings.
From 2003 to 2007 she was with SAPS and became a constable. While there, Gidigidi studied Policing Diploma and had to take an EduLoan to pay for it. She obtained M+2years of study (Matric plus two years of tertiary).
In 2007, Gidigidi joined the metro police as a student and became a constable.
“Fortunately, the eThekwini Municipality has Assisted Education which really helped me in pursuing my career. I’ll forever be grateful. I then carried on with my Policing Diploma which I obtained in 2010. I then registered for a B-Tech in Policing, which I obtained at the end of 2011 while working. In 2014, I registered for a Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Investigation and Criminal Justice System and obtained it in 2015. I then got promoted to captain in 2015. I furthered my studies again and registered for another Post Graduate Diploma in Management and obtained it in 2016,” she said.
Gidigidi said she then registered for an MCom in Management.
She started with Coursework in 2017 and the year after was her thesis which she was supposed to finish in 2018.
“Juggling my studies, work and family really took a lot from me but I had to soldier on, looking forward to getting the qualification at the end. At the end of 2018, I was excluded from the university. I appealed in 2019 but unfortunately Covid-19 came and there was no response from the university on the outcome.
“I was encouraged by my supervisor, Professor Thokozane Nzimakwe, to carry on with my research. He was forever supportive with all the challenges that were overwhelming. That positive spirit from him got me where I am today. I’ll forever be grateful,” Gidigidi said.
In 2020, Gidigidi was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, then in 2021, she tried to re-register with the university and was given another opportunity in the second semester to finish her thesis.
“At some stage I felt like giving up as I was overwhelmed with the challenges of life in general,” she said.
However, Gigidi persevered, stayed focused, and constantly reminded herself that if she started anything she had to finish it.
“Giving up is not an option,” she said.
“The qualification is is worthwhile in that you benefit by being able to have a bird’s eye view and not to have tunnel vision,” Gigid said.
In March 2023, Gidigidi was promoted to colonel and was deployed to work at the Durban Metropolitan Police Training Academy.
“I am forever grateful for this opportunity. I am sharing my story in order to encourage and be an inspiration to those young policemen and women who have just joined the police profession that the sky is the limit. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it, and, most importantly, when you start something you have to finish it no matter the challenges. You have got to soldier on and don’t lose focus,” she said.
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