A Zimbabwean tourism and hospitality doctoral student has been awarded the top PhD academic excellence award by an Australian University.

Muchazondida Mkono, a brilliant student, was awarded Southern Cross University’s highest honour, the Chancellor’s Medal.

The Chancellor’s Medal, which was last awarded to someone in 2009, is awarded to students who have completed a Doctor of Philosophy in which they have demonstrated academic excellence, and have achieved an outstanding and significant contribution to their field of knowledge.

Ms Mkono said it has been a very “long journey”, one of which she has been very proud to walk.

After four years of studying in Zimbabwe, Ms Mkono received the invitation of a scholarship to come and study her doctorate at SCU.

Leaving her family behind, she made the big move to Australia and began her new studies, conducting her PhD using the phrase “cultural entertainment” to describe the process of adding aspects of indigenous culture to food service.

The journey into this side of her home country, she said, was very eye-opening.

Remarkably, Ms Mkono completed her PhD in just two years and one month (most students take at least three years), while publishing 11 referred journal articles at the same time.

“It’s very emotional; I think that best describes it. It’s been a long journey,” she said of her two- and-a-half years of study at SCU.

“I loved it, I’ve had great supervisors; it’s been fantastic in general. I have so much gratitude to Southern Cross and my supervisors.” – Northern Star

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