Rev. Thapelo Khumalo graduated with a Bachelors in Theology from GWC in 2010, studying further and receiving his Master’s in Theology through UNISA in 2017. His dissertation is focused on the relationship between John Calvin’s theology and his pastoral ministry. He served as a campus director with The Bible Talks student ministry at the University of KwaZulu- Natal for seven years until 2019, also serving as assistant minister at Christ Church Glenwood in Durban (REACH SA) during this time. At the beginning of 2020, Thapelo joined GWC as a part-time tutor in the Systematic Theology department, responsible for lecturing selected modules and using his knowledge to assist students outside of lecture time. He is currently studying towards a PhD in Theology with a focus on Church History.
We asked Thapelo what it was like to return to GWC after 11 years and relocate his family to living on GWC campus in a new city in the teeth of the unforeseen pandemic and lockdown.
“It was strange at first, GWC is the same yet different. The campus has grown and there are a lot more faculty and staff. There is a lot more diversity in the staff and there is a lot more structure, in that different departments have been instituted. Today, there are many more post-graduate students due to GWC’s accreditation, but fewer doctoral students. I tutor a second semester subject, so in the first semester of 2020 and 2021, I have been able to focus on my PhD. Teaching online was unexpected and constituted a learning curve. I tutor a student ministry module and had prepared for being in the classroom. Initially, I found teaching academics online daunting – made easier by having already worked in student ministry. 2021 has been less difficult – online teaching has become familiar. Working from home is not my first choice, with its lack of segregation between work and personal life, and not seeing people. But it has forced me to get organised and manage my time well.”
We are thankful to the partners who support Thapelo as he continues his faculty development journey, and those donors who have helped GWC transition to online learning in the last two years.