A passion for helping others inspires young UFH alumna to open her own private practice in Social Work

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Sisipho Mkutukana

A desire to help others overcome their life problems has inspired Sisipho Mkutukana, a 30-year-old UFH alumna from Mdantsane to open up her own private practice in Social Work.

Mkutukana holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University, she obtained her qualification in 2015.

Even though Social Work was not always the career path she wanted to follow, she always wanted to be in a helping profession.  “Growing up I wanted to become a Doctor. Helping people has always been a big part of who I am. I guess this is because of the people who raised me. My mom and sister were always helping people and even taking some to stay with us until they could stand on their own,” she said.

Mkutukana’s practice is based in East London.

She says having her own practice still feels like a dream. “I have known for a long time that I wanted to own businesses, but I did not have an idea that this would be one of those. I did not even know that having a private practice was a thing in Social Work until 2017 when a friend relocated to Johannesburg and later started her own practice.”

Mkutukana was so determined at making her dream a reality that she worked tirelessly in gathering all the experience that she needed to register her practice.

According to her, her experience in private as well as public sector had set her up for where she is right now.

“I have helped people through different types of counselling and as young as I am, that does not deprive me of doing what I love. I have served elderly people, who sometimes are reluctant to open up to a young person.  However, eventually, they would open up to me and at the end of our sessions, they would state that they didn’t believe that I would be able to handle the problems that they came with,” she added.

Mkutukana says she had never thought she would achieve all of this at this age. The one thing she knew was that she had to obtain her degree and meet the high standards within her family.

“I thought I would work as an employed Social Worker for the rest of my life, but I guess God had other plans for me, plans which were far greater than me.”

Mkutukana who is also a public speaker, says for a while she knew that God had gifted her with the love for counselling and speaking, and all the services she has offered as a Social Worker “Counselling individuals, groups and families as well as speaking in front of people have been my most fulfilling roles.”

She shared the following advice to prospective students wanting to study Social Work:

  • Do your research and establish if this is really what you want to do for the rest of your life.
  • Acquaint yourself with professionals in the field to broaden your knowledge of what is out there.
  • Have a plan. If you do not get employed after four years of study, what are you going to do?
  • Be willing to work hard during your years of training. Social Work is not a breeze
  • Take care of your mental health. Be willing to attend counselling so you can deal with your own traumas before stepping into the field.
  • Network. You don’t know when you might need someone to put in a good word for you or who will be on the panel when you go into a job interview. Make as many connections as you possibly can.
  • Social Work is about helping people and putting your clients’ needs first, be kind and treat people with respect. Rather not go into it if you do not like interacting with people because you start interactions with people in your second year of study.