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.

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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.

 

A child should see a bookstore before they see a tavern

ALL LOCAL: African Flavour houses local literature from African Authors                                                                                                                                                                               Photo: Kayleen Morgan 

African Flavour , a new bookstore which recently opened  its doors on De Korte Street, Braamfontein, gives students an opportunity to make money. by selling their published books.
The bookstore offers 100% local content with African books written by African authors.

Fortiscue Helepi, who co-owns the shop with his wife Nokuthula, said the only criteria they have for the books and authors that are sold is that they should be a local writer from Africa.
“We are not gatekeepers of stories, only marketers of them,” he said. This allows students who have published books to sell them at African Flavour and make an income from their literature.
Helepi said that the store sells books according to the price recommended by the author or publisher with the store keeping 30% of the sale amount and the author gaining 70%.

Masters student in geography and environmental studies, Mafule Moswane’s books, A Learners Guide to Academic Success and Katrina and Other Untold Stories, are currently on sale at African
Flavour. Moswane said that he “strongly encourages” students who are writers and have a story to tell, to sell their work through African Flavour.

“The store assists African authors who do not have a platform and we need more places which fit the vision to sell African books written by African authors.”

The bookstore greets you with warmth and smooth jazz music playing in the background upon arrival. Helepi said the store is their second establishment with the first one being in Vanderbijlpark. He added that the Braamfontein establishment was opened because they realised that people were travelling from Johannesburg to Vanderbijlpark to buy books.

“The vision for African Flavour is to create a market for more people to read books they can relate to,” he said. Helepi said that it was unfortunate that in our current society people invest more in alcohol than they do in reading.
He added that the challenge for him is to expand so far across the country that “a child should see a bookstore before they see a tavern.”

First-time customer, Amigo Makhubele, who works in Braamfontein said he was happy to see an array of books in African languages, but was especially pleased to find Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom in Xitsonga.
“This is good. I’ll definitely come back to get more books for my collection at home,” he said.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Wits Vuvuzela, September 2017, Jozi Book Fair focuses on women and literature

Wits Vuvuzela,  February 20170 ,Drama for life needs your books 

Witsie’s shine at global summit

TWO WITS students represented South Africa at the annual One Young World Summit hosted in Bogotá, Colombia last week.

The annual summit brings together young talented leaders from 196 countries from global and national companies, NGOs and universities to debate, share and formulate innovative solutions to global issues.

photo: Provided

THE WITS EDGE: Tefo Mokhine and Nkululeko Tselane at the One Young World Summit.                                                       Photo: Provided

Third year mining engineering student, Tefo Mokhine, and fourth year law student, Nkululeko Tselane, were selected based on their leadership qualities, entrepreneurship skills, civic engagement and the work they have done in their communities.

Mokhine told Wits Vuvuzela that he was the only one who represented a student business club from South Africa called the Young African Global Entrepreneurs Club (YAGEC). The business club was created last year by a Wits student, Diketso Phokungwane. “Representing YAGEC was an honour for me, our aim is to expand our network of entrepreneurs from across Africa and the world,” Mokhine said.

Mokhine was a delegate speaker and shared the stage with former Public Protector Advocate Thuli Mandonsela and the CEO of Emergent Telecom Ventures, Mahommed Amersi. “It was a really humbling and great learning curve, having to address 1 300 people is not a small feat at all. I learned a lot about the experience and happenings of many other countries. I feel empowered and more learned now,” said Mokhine.

Tselane told Wits vuvuzela that the experience was eye opening. “I did not know the problems that people in Tunisia and Tanzania face. Engaging with African’s experiencing different problems was eye opening,” he said

Phokungwane said that Mokhine representing the club internationally is a first major step. “Having that world stage and being the only business club to do so from South Africa presents a huge stepping stone form us,” Phokungwane said.

 

RELATED ARTICLES: One Young leader at a time, September, 2016.

Wits student launch online textbook trading site

AN ONLINE textbook site, called SIKIO, established in June, was finally launched at the end of September.

Third year BAccSci student, Ndu Nkwanyana (21), who is the co-founder and CEO of SIKIO told Wits Vuvuzela what inspired him to create the site. “At the beginning of the year I realized that I had many textbooks from over the years that I was not using. I decided to give them out for free but at times would struggle to find people who wanted them,” he said.

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Finding the light at the end of the tunnel

Last week, I started thinking about the challenges and emotions I experienced at the beginning of the year. Without a doubt, this year goes down as the most stressful and trying in my entire existence. I have learned one lesson in the process: the invisibility of a light at the end of the tunnel does not necessarily mean that things will not get better.

I remember being filled with so much elation at the end of last year when I received the news that I had been admitted to study journalism honours. I was ready to embark on my newest academic adventure. My joy was soon overshadowed by the anxiety of not knowing how I was going to finance my studies. I had no money for registration, never mind my tuition and accommodation fees.

When the day of registration came, and Wits offered debt agreements for students who couldn’t pay registration fees there and then, I was left with no choice but to sign on that dotted line.  As I was signing, I was at peace with the fact that I was not alone in this battle, that there were other students facing the same problem.

When classes began a few weeks later, I found it difficult to enjoy the course that I had always wanted to do. At the back of my mind toiled the fear of being financially excluded from this prestigious institution.

The funding opportunities at my disposal and for which I had applied, returned with a negative response, if any at all. With several attempts at calling to enquire about my applications, some failed to explain why they were unable to fund my studies.

As the months went by, my experience was one of tremendous defeat. The pain felt more like a punishment. I suffered dreadful unhealthy thoughts, fear and worry. I found myself continually questioning the worthiness of proceeding with my studies. Returning to Limpopo seemed to be a much better option than enduring the strife.

I realised that I was lacking coping mechanisms and that it was difficult to perform well academically when I was distressed.

I have seen a number of students across the country taking out their frustrations about their funding struggles on social media. I also came across various articles that revealed student financial burden as the predominant source of depression. All of this made me realise that I was not alone and that there were other students who were swimming in the same pool of frustration.

Thankfully my darling mother, MaMmotla, dispelled my doubts and induced a sense of optimism in me. She would tell me, that it was going to be okay and that I should persevere and that something would come up. With that little encouragement, I was able to gather myself and weather the storms that lay ahead.

The beginning to the end of my financial stresses came two months ago, when I was awarded a full bursary. The burden I had been carrying around for so long lifted off my shoulders. It meant that I would now be able to focus on my academics and finish this year on a high note. I am now able to invest and immerse myself in the course a little more than I did, and focus on enjoying every moment of what is left of my honours year.

As clichéd as it may sound, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Things may not go according to your envisioned plans, but it is important never to cease searching for opportunities and definitely never to throw in the towel.