From small-town girl to admin aficionado

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From small-town girl to admin aficionado

Yolande Barendse

Growing up in the Eastern Cape, Yolande Barendse spent many happy days playing barefoot on the gravel roads of Pearston, between Graaff-Reinet and Somerset East. In the summer, playtime continued into the cool of the evening under the open, starry skies. Today, she is equally at home in university town Stellenbosch with its bright lights.

Yolande’s Eikestad journey started when she completed a management assistant (secretarial) national diploma at Boland College. She then joined the administrative team at Stellenbosch University’s Medical and Health Sciences Faculty, working in the postgraduate division. In 2019 she moved to the Engineering Faculty, where she eventually managed the administration and application process for no fewer than five postgraduate programmes at the Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering department.

Fast forward 13 years and Yolande (almost literally) crossed the road to a new professional adventure at the Africa Centre for HIV/Aids Management. She will be responsible for the master’s programme administration and assist with the postgraduate diploma applications and registrations. The new admin officer job gives her the opportunity to continue practising her passion for working in an academic environment: “I love working with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures.”

Part of Pearston’s village culture was that people had their own fruit and vegetable gardens. Yolande often helped her parents cook jam, and friends and family especially loved the grape and fig jam. More often than not, visitors went home with a bottle of jam ─ a sweet gift in more than one sense.

When the longing for small-town peace and quiet starts stirring and Yolande wants to escape from the hustle and bustle, you’ll find her taking weekend trips and spending quality time with loved ones to recharge before it’s back to busy campus life.

We’re delighted that Yolande joined the Africa Centre’s team and are looking forward to working together!