Age is just a number, says the 65-year-old

Muvhango actress Vho-Masindi graduates with PhD

Dr Regina - Muvhango actress
Dr Regina - Muvhango actress

Muvhango actress Regina Nesengani has graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in languages, linguistics and literature.

Nesengani, 65, who is popularly known as Vho-Masindi in the soapie, graduated last week after a four-year journey to complete her qualification, which she did in Venda at the University of SA.

The seasoned actress, who has been in Muvhango for years as chief Azwinndini Mukwevho’s mother, still refuses to be referred to as Dr Nesengani.

She told Sowetan yesterday that through her PhD she wanted to inspire her grandchildren and young people in general.

“I feel happy to have achieved this but I want to transfer that happiness in inspiring the whole country. I want young people to ask themselves a question: if I achieve a PhD at 65, what is holding them back? Further, I did my PhD in Venda because I wanted to encourage people to love and be proud of their ethnic languages.”

The actress from Vuwani in Venda, Limpopo, said she was inspired to pursue her PhD after listening to the story of a 70-year-old woman from Eastern Cape who was a PhD candidate.

“I don’t remember the year, I was listening to SAFM on my way from a funeral. When I was listening to the story of the woman I realised that age really does not count. At that time I was doing my masters. I decided to send a proposal in 2015 and it was accepted.”

As much as Nesengani is qualified to lead any institution if opportunities open up, she said she did not see herself quitting TV acting for another job.

She said acting was her passion and she wanted to continue acting until the end. “I will continue acting, even my PhD was also inspired by my acting career. I will continue doing different researches while acting on Muvhango. Why should I run around? God gave me this talent to use it to survive.”

Nesengani, who began her acting career in the 1980s in radio dramas and doing voice-overs, said her PhD thesis developed out of her masters research, which she conducted in 2011.

Titled Portrayal of Women Abuse Through Dialogue in Some Tshivenda Dramas by Male Writers, Nesengani looked at the work produced by seven male writers who had portrayed women in a negative light.

“In my research I collected about seven drama books. In those dramas they portrayed women as brainless and lacking intelligence. In some books I realised that women were regarded as tokens that deserved to be punished for silly things like failing to cook on time. It was not a direct abuse but the abuse was through dialogue,” Nesengani said.

Apart from her PhD, Nesengani also has an honours degree in drama, diplomas in remedial education, Abet education and theology under her belt. She said  it was disappointing that young people wanted everything for free and on a silver platter.

Nesengani argued that people like the late Nelson Mandela spent years on Robben Island for black people to access free quality education.

“Young people have turned the word freedom upside down. When Mandela was released, he emphasised the need to take education seriously because he wanted the country to be led by people who have knowledge. They (young people) want everything for free,” said Nesengani.

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