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Change the world

20/12/2022

Despite numerous personal hurdles to overcome, Zimbabwean student Tariro Shumba, graduated with her MCom in Marketing (cum laude) at Mandela University’s Summer Graduation on 12 December.

In addition, her research, namely; Online purchasing intention factors influencing e-customer satisfaction in South Africa, was very topical as the world was adjusting to digital shopping in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, when she started her study. Tariro is particularly passionate about customer satisfaction in the service industry, and it was important to her to capture what e-customer satisfaction means as it remains an important aspect in online shopping behaviour.

Her research findings concluded that consumers’ needs are satisfied when the online shops exceed their consumers expectations with up-to-date timely product information on promotion offerings, refunds and refund terms, communication via their preferred mode, as well as meeting product quality, delivery and safe money transfer requirements. Website functionality and shopping experience expectations directly determine e-customer satisfaction.

Websites also need to be simple to navigate and use, then online buying behaviour and consumer delight will improve. Consumers are more likely to return to such a website and make repeat purchases. Online repurchase intention behaviour and actual purchase behaviour are key indicators of e-customer satisfaction.

“Today is a very emotional day for me, filled with mixed emotions. As I walk across the stage today, of course there's a deep longing to have family ululating and celebrating with me, as have been for my previous graduations.

“However, my heart takes pride in this achievement despite all that life has thrown at me, mostly as I fought to successfully complete my Masters, when I think about all the obstacles I overcame, instead of reliving the pain, I'm joyful for the perseverance and the victory at last”, Tariro said after graduating on 12 December. 

Tariro says she had to fight one challenge after the other and became very overwhelmed and depressed, but a colleague referred her to Emthonjeni Student Wellness for counselling, and together with her psychologist she learnt how to deal with her past, accept it, navigate her present whilst focusing on the future.

The postgraduate journey can be very lonely, and Tariro realised she had to be actively involved somewhere, just as a distraction to preserve her sanity. She was a student assistant in the Business Management Department, became involved in Student Housing, as Women In Leadership Coordinator in 2021 and as Coordinator at the Postgraduate Student Village in the first semester of 2022, where she further grew from the experience. She also joined the Nelson Mandela University Choir, which she thoroughly enjoyed. The kitchen is also her safe haven, as preparing hearty meals, is always therapeutic, she says.

All these extracurricular activities helped her and pushed her away from the "dark place" of depression, and she learnt to enjoy whilst managing any triggers to her mental health.

In 2020, when she enrolled for her masters, she struggled mentally, and her supervisor Professor Sandra Perks and co-supervisor Dr Danie Ferreira encouraged and supported her to this day. Apart from the many challenges including the pandemic, data collection taking longer because of Covid and visa regulations that kept her in Zimbabwe for months, she also went through emotional stress with her family.

At the end of 2020 her adoptive parents said that they were now giving her her own wings to fly, and this suddenly changed everything for her, as she lost her core support system. Therefore, she did not have a family anymore when she needed them. With the help of her psychologist, she grew and progressed.

Financially, as international student she also had more expenses to cover, but the University’s Research Development Department assisted her to ensure that she completed her studies through their funding.

Despite the emotional challenges of the release by her adoptive family with her "having no immediate or close family" she is grateful for them as they took her in from the very beginning. She also managed to study for her first two qualifications with their support and she dedicated this Masters to her adoptive parents. “Thank you for showing me the world and releasing me to fly high as an eagle”, she says.

She also thanks close friends and colleagues throughout this journey, as her strong support system that kept her going.

“This achievement is evidence of my trust in God and understanding that all things work together for His good and for His glory... God has carried me through every season of this journey. It was painful; there were many times I wanted to give up on life, but God held me close to Him, my faith was tested but praying and trusting Him with my life is all I knew to do, I continue doing so and trusting His plan for my life, even when it doesn't make sense to me sometimes- I still trust,” Tariro says.

Tariro is currently actively searching for formal employment and is also planning to still do her PhD.

Her dream job is in customer relationship marketing or to be a management consultant.

She believes she has learnt and grown through her experience and that this will strengthen her to overcome any obstacles she may face in the future. She looks forward to the future with so much hope!

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160
elma.dekoker@mandela.ac.za