Vol11 no5 2019
STAY IN THE PICTURE
Emma Akoto (21) from the Polokwane Campus sent us this touching poem dedicated to her late mother, Rachel Mabore Rasebotsa, just in time for our Women’s Month edition. We met the budding poet who has a way with words (PAGE 4). Also featured in this edition is serial globetrotter, Hlulani Baloyi (PAGE 2 & 3); Fine Artist, Viola Greyling (PAGE 5); Mechanical Engineer in the making, Relebogile Mahlangu (PAGE 6); and Miss SA finalist, Shaskia John (PAGE 7 & 8).
Photography student, FIKILE BOOYSEN (26), photographed this striking image for our Women’s Month edition as part of a third-year beauty portrait project. “The image is inspired by Jigna Zhang, a Beijing-born photographer, whose work is widely published in high-end magazines like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Elle,” he says.
please send your name and cell number to
firstname.lastname@example.org on or before 30 August 2019. Mark the subject field: SNACK.
To win this
THE WORLD IS HER
Hlulani’s bags are already packed for yet another journey
Hlulani Baloyi (27) is a Computer Science graduate from the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology. Heita! met the serial globetrotter who plans to visit 30 countries before she turns 30. By the look of things, she’s almost there.
WHEN DID THE TRAVEL BUG BITE YOU? On my first international travel to Dubai. I was part of a graduate programme at IBM and for our induction, we travelled there. From that time, I never looked back.
NAME ALL THE COUNTRIES THAT YOU’VE BEEN TO. * Mozambique * Swaziland * UAE * Zimbabwe * Zambia * Tanzania * Kenya * Ethiopia * Mexico * USA * Namibia * Kuwait * Jordan * Qatar * Turkey and Sri-Lanka. By the time of publishing this article, I will have also travelled to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Oman.
WOW! THAT’S AMAZING! ARE THERE ANY PAGES LEFT IN YOUR PASSPORT? Well, my passport is now left with three pages and I'm working on getting my second passport. That’s because I’ve repeatedly visited some of the countries mentioned above.
WHICH OF THE COUNTRIES WAS THE MOST INTERESTING? This is a difficult question simply because every country I’ve visited has left real and fond memories that will live with me forever. But, if you were to wake me in my sleep to choose a country to revisit, Mozambique or Mexico would be my first choices. It must be the warm and welcoming people there. I believe people make a country. Besides the good people, Mozambican islands and beaches are crystal clear, and Mexico offers great food for a foodie like me.
WHAT'S YOUR FULL-TIME JOB? I currently work as a Full-stack Developer for a consulting firm.
I GUESS MANY PEOPLE ASK YOU HOW YOU FINANCE YOUR TRAVELS, OR DOES IT ONLY TAKE GOOD PLANNING? This question comes up a lot, and my answer is mostly always that I’m more of an experience than a luxury kind of traveller. I’m always ready to stay in a backpackers hostel, rather than in a hotel to maximise my experiences. I’m also fortunate to have a job that allows me to travel often. And yes, you can never take away good planning when it comes to cutting costs.
Turn to PAGE 3 to view more of Hlulani’s travel destinations.
WHICH ONE WILL NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN? In all honesty, I have not travelled to a country that I wouldn’t want to visit again. I’m very open-minded. During all my travels I focus on understanding how people in different parts of the world live their lives.
Hlulani Baloyi (27)
WHAT’S YOUR BEST TRAVEL ADVICE? Keep an open mind and open yourself up to learning. Sometimes, it’s even better to unlearn everything you might have pre-conceived about a country that you plan to visit. Travelling is not as expensive as people think. Identify a country you’d like to visit and start using platforms like Trivago and the AirBnb’s. Backpacking is another cheaper option. The same applies for booking flights. The digital age has made it much easier. If travelling abroad is not an option at this point, why not invest some time to travel around South Africa. We live in the most beautiful country. Don’t overthink it. It’s not that deep.
WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST EXPERIENCE YOU’VE HAD ABROAD? Travelling as a woman comes with its own challenges. Travelling as a black girl is even trickier. I’ve had guys from different cultures who’ve expressed interest all because they’d like to have a black girl experience.
WHICH COUNTRY’S PEOPLE HAS MADE THE BIGGEST IMPRESSION ON YOU, AND WHY? Mozambicans are the best and kindest people I’ve ever met. Actually, people in all African countries that I’ve visited welcomed me with love and open arms.
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE SA IN OTHER COUNTRIES, AND WHAT'S THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION PEOPLE GENERALLY HAVE OF OUR COUNTRY? I’m always ready to share how diverse South Africa is. I hadn’t realized how rich in different cultures we are until I travelled abroad. It’s crazy that Mandela gets to feature in every conversation as soon as you mention you are from here. As for the misconceptions, a rather interesting one was when I travelled to the US and most people were very generic in classifying South Africa as Africa.
From Zim to Zanzibar, the world is Hlulani Baloyi’s oyster. Here she shares some of her favourite photos, travel tips, and weird experiences.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND BRED? In a small mining town, called Phalaborwa (which means better than the South) in Sepedi.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO ENROL AT TUT AND STUDY MANAGEMENT? TUT chose me and I fell in love with the institution simply because it empowers people. Before I enrolled, I tried to start a recycling business with a friend, but we needed funding. So, we went to the local National Youth Development Agency. The consultant there encouraged us to get a relevant qualification before venturing into business. I thought: Why not study Management? Well-managed businesses have a high success rate, and the science behind managing is not just merely having common sense.
WHAT CAN THE UNIVERSITY DO TO IMPROVE YOUR STUDENT EXPERIENCE? Although the Polokwane Campus is small compared to other campuses, more courses, such as Teaching, Logistics, and Health Sciences could be offered.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR POETRY. Poetry lets me deal with my emotions in an open platform. I began writing this year and have never looked back. I’ve never felt so confident and empowered like I did when I recited one of my Youth Day poems at a talent show at the Rebirth City Church in Polokwane. It was not even about winning, but more about getting out of my shell and believing in myself. To my surprise, I was the runner-up, though I was up against many talented individuals.
FROM THE POEM THAT YOU WROTE FOR US, IT'S CLEAR THAT YOU HAD A SPECIAL BOND WITH YOUR MOM. TELL US MORE ABOUT HER. My mom was a qualified nurse and she taught me three things: Hard work, perseverance, and kindness. Anyone who knew Rachel would attest to the fact that she was a loving, caring and selfless woman who worked hard for her family, and someone who had a heart larger than life itself. She was a tall, beautiful, big African woman, who wore a size 9 shoe, and wrote her way to success with her left hand. Back in the day, “lefties” were discriminated against, but she persevered. She was also business-minded. I guess that’s where my love for business stems from. My giant, strong tree came falling when she got ill and was in a coma for weeks. It was the most difficult experience I went through. Having to tell my mom I love her through a machine and hearing no response ripped me apart. I yearned to hear her warm laughter fill the room, but all I could hear was the sound of the heart monitor beeping and, for the first time in my life, I felt like my strong mother gave up on me. She breathed her final breath on 20 February 2014, but fought hard to the end. Letting go was not easy. No one prepares you for it.
HOW DOES ONE DEAL WITH THE LOSS OF A MOTHER? The death of a loved one can cause depression. It’s important not to bottle up your feelings. Share your thoughts with a good support system, for this journey is not a journey you should take alone. Tears will not bring your loved one back, but crying relieves the pain and eases your heart. Keep onto the memory of your mother. Keep praying as you face each day. I know they say time heals all wounds, but there will be times and occasions like Mother’s Day, or even her birthday, that will make you miss your mom, and long for her presence. That’s okay too. Surround yourself with people that make you feel loved and appreciated.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN TEN YEARS FROM NOW? As a graduate with many more qualifications and skills under my belt. I also see myself in a leadership position, preferably a logistics manager owning a company. I see myself married because I believe in love and marriage. I see myself as a mother, not only to my children, but also to the community at large. I see myself as an inspiration to many young girls. If a small-town girl like me could make it, so can they. I see many books and poems published under my name. I see myself as a motivational speaker and a blessing to many lives.
Emma Akoto (21) is a second-year Management student at the Faculty of Management Sciences, Polokwane Campus. We met the budding poet who, for this edition, especially wrote a poem dedicated to her late mother, Rachel Mabore Rasebotsa (PAGE 1).
Inspirational poet, Emma Akoto (21) from the Polokwane Campus.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR ART. For my final year, I’m specialising in ceramics where I reshape objects to form part of my concept: The feeling of displacement.
WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT TO STUDY IN THE ARTS? Yes! Anyone who’s passionate about the arts should not do anything else, since life has a way of always bringing you back to where you belong. Don’t waste time. Just do it.
DO WOMEN MAKE BETTER LEADERS THAN MEN? Wow, tough question. The feminist in me immediately wants to say obviously, but I believe that a leader should be that person best suited for the position, regardless of their gender.
ARE YOU A PROPONENT FOR THE ELEVATION OF WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE TO MEET TRANSFORMATION GOALS, OR SHOULD SUCH ELEVATION BE BASED ON SKILL, POTENTIAL ETC. REGARDLESS OF GENDER? In the age we live in, everyone has the right to education. Appointments should be based on skill, potential, and education.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS? My long-term plan is to do my Master’s, get a fantastic lecturing position, while still practicing art and building my art career. I would also like to do a few local/international residencies.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND BRED? Pretoria
REFLECTING ON WOMEN’S MONTH, WHO ARE THE WOMEN THAT SHAPED YOU? The list is endless and I wish I could name them all. My sister (Lila Greyling), athletic coach (Ammie Sutton), and an inspiring teacher (Olga van der Merwe) all taught me to work hard, never give up and be good to others. The list will be incomplete without my mother, Jennifer Greyling. I'm thoroughly aware that most people believe their mothers are the best, but from a truly objective view, Jennifer is a woman who is always positive and brings everyone to their true selves. Cathy Batchelier (lecturer and friend) is also a role model. She is a woman of integrity and perseverance. Yet, she is always calm and gentle.
YOU’VE BEEN AWARDED A PRESTIGIOUS SCHOLARSHIP BY THE SA RESERVE BANK EARLIER THIS YEAR AND YOUR WORK IS ALSO INCLUDED IN ITS PERMANENT ART COLLECTION. THIS IS QUITE AN ACHIEVEMENT. HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL? I’m still speechless and extremely honoured about this amazing opportunity. My motivation has risen to a new level.
YOU ALSO RECEIVED THE CHANCELLOR’S MEDAL FOR OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT WHEN YOU OBTAINED YOUR NATIONAL DIPLOMA (FINE AND APPLIED ARTS). WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A TOP ACHIEVER? If you’re serious about your studies, you must treat it that way. Eat, sleep,
and practice your field day and night. After all, practice
It’s quite an achievement when a public enterprise, the size and scope of the SA Reserve Bank, awards you a scholarship to pursue your studies, and, simultaneously, invests in your art. Viola Greyling (22), a B Tech: Fine and Applied Arts student at the Faculty of the Arts, boasts both these accolades.
Hard work has paid off for Fine and Applied Arts student, Viola Greyling (22).
Relebogile takes the road
Relebogile Mahlangu (21), a B Tech Chemical Engineering student, was among 39 graduates of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment recognised for their outstanding academic achievements earlier this year, shortly after she obtained her National Diploma. We met the bright spark.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND BRED? In Soshanguve, Pretoria.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO STUDY CHEMICAL ENGINEERING? My parents have taught my siblings and me to always take the road less travelled. When my peers opted to be doctors, lawyers and journalists, I decided to take the Engineering route. I didn’t want to limit myself to working in a specific role my entire life, hence I chose Chemical Engineering. This career allows me to work in different sectors – from cleaning water, food processing, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, to generating energy, pulp and paper.
WHAT DOES A CHEMICAL ENGINEER DO TYPICALLY? Chemical engineers help to improve the well-being of mankind by applying the principles of Chemistry, Physics and Maths. They design processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing, conduct research to improve and optimize processes, develop solutions to environmental problems, and develop and test production methods, amongst other.
Relebogile Mahlangu (21) is one of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment’s top students.
THERE IS AN UNDERREPRESENTATION OF FEMALES IN ENGINEERING. HOW WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE YOUNG GIRLS TO OPT FOR CAREERS IN THIS FIELD? We need to combat stereotypes concerning gender and intellect. Being a woman in Engineering has never been easy. Still, who said that we can’t or we shouldn’t become engineers? There's no degree that's only a ‘men’s degree,’ nor is there a ‘women’s degree.’ One potential strategy is to help girls adopt a mind set that their abilities can be developed, opposed to being unchangeable.
WHAT ARE THE MISCONCEPTIONS PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT YOUR GENERATION (GEN Z)? That we're too young or immature for the workplace and we lack vision. The truth is that young people are starting businesses, influencing people and changing the world every day. We're a generation that has a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit.
YOU'RE ONE OF YOUR FACULTY’S TOP ACHIEVERS FOR 2019 (OBTAINING AN AVERAGE OF 75%). WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF A STUDENT WHO EXCELS AT HIS OR HER STUDIES? He/she is self-driven, disciplined, intellectually curious, creative, performs well under pressure, and has good time management skills.
NAME ONE WOMAN WHO HAD A PROFOUND INFLUENCE ON YOU, AND WHY? It’s quite hard for me to mention only one woman because both my mother and sister have played a role in where I am right now. Seeing my mother, Anna Mahlangu, waking up every morning to go to work, even after my father passed away, and ensuring that my siblings and I have a roof over our heads and food on the table, has motivated me to work harder than ever. My sister, Refilwe, has always been by my side while I was at my worst and at my best, but no matter the circumstances, she has given me the greatest gift ever – she believes in me.
NAME A LECTURER THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR ACADEMIC JOURNEY. Mr Major Mabuza. He believes in active participation in the lecture room which has helped improve my communication skills. He integrated the theoretical aspect of learning with real life situations and he encouraged students to think broadly, rather than having a narrow view of problems.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND BRED? In Laudium, Pretoria.
WITH A RECORD-BREAKING NUMBER OF ENTRIES (1 886) FOR THIS YEAR’S COMPETITION, YOU MUST BE QUITE CHUFFED THAT YOU MADE IT TO THE TOP 35. Absolutely! South Africa is filled with so many beautiful, inspiring women and I’m honoured to be among the Top 35.
TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT THE PREPARATIONS IN THE RUN-UP TO THE EVENT. IT MUST BE QUITE HECTIC. A lot is required in preparing yourself physically, mentally and emotionally to handle the pressure and responsibility of such a title. The organisers work tirelessly to prepare the girls to be at their optimal for the actual competition.
BEAUTY PAGEANTS ARE FROWNED UPON IN SOME QUARTERS, CLAIMING THAT IT'S DEROGATORY TOWARDS WOMEN. AGREE OR DISAGREE? Well, I understand why it’s sometimes received negatively, but I firmly believe that anything that celebrates women, in any aspect, should be applauded.
WITH SOCIETY’S FIXATION ON PHYSICAL APPEARANCE, DO BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE HAVE IT EASIER IN LIFE? At a superficial level, it might appear so, but the pressures of performing well in society are the same for all people. Sometimes, beauty can be a hindrance because people can’t always see beyond the physical/superficial. For example, myself being a Nature Conservationist is overlooked by my profession as a model.
WHO'S YOUR FAVOURITE MISS SA OF ALL TIMES? Every Miss South Africa is extraordinary in her own right, but my favourite would be Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters because I knew her through our mutual modelling agency and worked with her. She is lovely inside and out.
THE COMPETITION BRINGS TOGETHER WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. WHAT COULD EACH SOUTH AFRICAN DO TO CONTRIBUTE TO A UNIFIED NATION? We need to embrace and celebrate our heritage, our strengths and our cultural and traditional differences. We are one nation, and I am because we are.
MISS SA FINALIST
– barefoot and in heels
Miss SA finalist and TUT Nature Conservation student, Shaskia John (21).
Shaskia John (21), a Nature Conservation graduate from the Faculty of Science, was one of the 35 finalists contending for this year’s Miss SA title. Heita! scooped an interview.
Shaskia lives two very
For Nature Conservation student and Miss SA finalist, Shaskia John (21), it's not at all strange to be in heels the one day and barefoot, covered in mud, the next.
DOES A UNIVERSITY QUALIFICATION GIVE YOU A BETTER CHANCE AT EMPLOYMENT? Yes, absolutely. The job market is saturated with unemployed graduates, which means that the problem is rather the number of jobs available.
WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WOMEN’S DAY TO YOU AND WHO ARE THE WOMEN THAT YOU LOOK UP TO? Women’s Day is an empowering, unifying day for all South African women. I look up to my mother, who raised me as a single parent while working and supporting her family. I also look up to Greta Thunberg, Swedish activist for climate change, and Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS FOR SA? I hope our generation is future-focused and conscientious in creating a country that's more sustainable, innovative and builds on the successes of the past. We are the Rainbow Nation and Ubuntu runs in our blood.
YOU STUDIED NATURE CONSERVATION AND IS CURRENTLY ENROLLED FOR POSTGRADUATE STUDIES. YOU MUST AGREE THAT THE WORLD OF NATURE CONSERVATION IS A FAR CRY FROM THAT OF BEAUTY PAGEANTS? Indeed! Miss South Africa was the first pageant I ever entered, although I’ve been a model since 15. Sometimes, I feel like I live two very different lives; one in heels in front of a camera with make-up artists and stylists, and the other, barefoot and covered in mud. People shouldn’t conform to fit into a box or a certain ideology of what and who they should be. You define yourself, and if you’re passionate about something, you should always follow your dreams.
Shaskia John (21)
All work and no play make Jack (and Jill) a
dull boy (and girl).
WINNERS OF COMPETITIONS FEATURED IN THE PREVIOUS EDITION ARE:
MELIDA MABOGOANE (30), a Master’s student in Chemistry at the Arcadia Campus; and COMPUTER MATHEBULA (24), a Management student at the Pretoria Campus (WATER CARAFE).
STAY IN THE PICTURE
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