Q&A with Zongezile Qeba

Zongezile Qeba, was born and raised in a fairly small village called Verdwaal in the North West, about 30 minutes from Mafikeng. He is currently completing his final year BSc in Chemical Engineering. Qeba has made it to the top six of the popular educational youth show One Day Leader. The show airs from February 8 at 21:00.


SLICE OF LIFE: The right path is my path


The past two weeks have been filled with very early morning and late afternoon commutes where I find myself squashed between two other people, passing rand notes and coins to the passengers seated behind me and in front of me.

Every day during the commute, recurring thoughts run through my mind as I observe the traffic from the window of the taxi. “If only I could afford to buy a car so that I don’t have to sit in a taxi and listen to the driver complain about people paying with R200 notes in the morning,” or even better, “If only I could teleport myself to work and skip the traffic.”

The reality is that I cannot afford a car at the moment and, secondly, technology has not advanced to the point where humans can move from one location to another in a split second. Much like many other young adults, I have a great deal of anxiety about being unable to take care of myself financially.

I also, from time to time, fall into the trap of “success fomo” where people in your circle and on social media are achieving, “winning”, travelling, graduating and buying houses which inevitably leaves you feeling as though your life is at a standstill or moving at a snail pace.

I may not have accumulated much on a materialistic level yet, however, I am grateful and confident about the path that I am on. The morning commutes are awful and trying to build your adult life from scratch is exhausting. Knowing that I am on the right path to becoming the person that I am destined to become is what keeps me going.

In 2016, I was extremely uncertain about the trajectory that my career would take. I was also confronted with the reality of possibly being unemployed after completing my first honours degree.

Financially, I knew that I could not delay job hunting. I also knew that I would most probably end up doing a job that I had zero enthusiasm for.

While giving a talk at the Stanford Business School, Oprah Winfrey said something that helped me to re-visit my vision board and to question my path. “Knowing what you DON’T want to do is the best possible place to be in if you don’t know what do,” she said. I knew then that I did not want to sit in a cubicle  all day, juggling numbers and compiling reports.

I cannot measure my success or path by comparing myself to those around me. There is a greater purpose that I need to fulfil and a contribution that I need to make. I have learnt that I will never fully become the person that I am destined to be if I try to walk on a path that is not created for me.

It may be too early to tell where my career will take me. I might not be the most outstanding individual and I might be a bit naive about the profession. But my decision to enter the world of journalism has come with so much validation and purpose.

With every story told, I can feel the contribution that I am making towards informing and enlightening people. Journalism has forced me to exit a shell that I had been hiding in for years. In a space of a year I have grown and learnt lessons that will aid my journey in both professional and personal spaces.

I am definitely not where I want to be in life but I find peace in knowing that I am on the right path and that every day and every experience is a stepping stone leading me to something bigger, better and even more fulfilling.


Wits history graduate tackles gang culture in SA

Wits history graduate, Keyan Jardine, is the first to receive the FirstRand African studies scholarship to Oxford University. The scholarship is a collaboration between the FirstRand Foundation and Oxford, which provides exclusively South African graduates with an opportunity to study a Masters in African Studies.


The Power of Social Network Analysis

Telling complex stories through visual and interactive methods is an important part of social network analysis, according to Brant Houston, co-founder of the Global Investigative Journalism Network.

Houston walked the audience through the components involved in telling stories through social network analysis in a lecture titled, “Connecting the Dots: Social Network Analysis” on November 16 at the Wits Science Stadium.

He explained how social network analysis figuratively and literally connects the dots between people and institutions. He showed how social network analysis has been used to tell some of the biggest stories in recent history.

A diagram of the September 11 terrorist attacks, for instance, illustrated the social connections between the terrorists before they executed their deadly plan.

Houston said using social network analysis helps readers to easily consume content if “you make it clear and if you keep it simple and allow readers to be able to manipulate it.”

Multimedia is also an essential part of current social network analysis, according to Houston.

“It’s pretty, it’s more interactive and it gives readers more control,” he said.

Ilya Lozovsky, slot editor for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, concurred with Houston that social network analysis’ interactive nature makes it easy for readers to understand complex stories. He pointed to subjects like company ownership and ties with other companies as an example.

“It’s hard to portray that simply through texts,” Lozovsky said. “It’s also important to make sure that the visuals are complementing the narrative.”