WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND BRED? I’m proud to say that I was born in this beautiful rainbow country, called South-Africa, raised in the Jacaranda City, with a dream to see the world, travel, learn, and experience something new every day.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES OF WORKING AT A PLUSH FIVE-STAR HOTEL. Wow! What an experience! I worked at the Anantara Desert Island Resort and Spa. The island is 87 square kilometres and one of the biggest in the UAE. It’s about 250 kilometres from the capital city, Abu Dhabi, and some 25 minutes by boat from the mainland. The late Royal Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision for the island and his country was to green the desert. He planted about 1.5 million trees on the island, in straight lines, each with its own irrigation line, as there is no underground water. The water is sourced from the ocean and filtered with a desalination plant. His dream was to also save endangered animal species. Currently, the island has about 27 different species from all over the world (16 000 - 17 000 animals).
Anantara has three, five star hotels and my work was to take our guests out to see the wildlife and participate in outdoor activities, such as kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, archery etc. Anantara has hotels worldwide, but started in Thailand. Each of these hotels is located in very unique settings, like Sir Bani Yas, or even Qasr Al Sarab (built in the middle of the desert). The island has some interesting historical sites, like the Christian Monastery that is believed to be built in 650AD. It wasn’t always easy to be so far away from the real life out there, but Anantara believes that life is a journey and I will forever be grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to work there. I didn’t only make friends, but they became my family.
WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE TRAVEL DESTINATION, AND WHY? I love culture, history, food, wine, lakes, beaches, mountains, and ancient ruins. Do I need to say more? Therefore, definitely Italy! It was high on my list for 2020, but it will have to wait for 2021.
THE TOURISM SECTOR HAS BEEN HEAVILY AFFECTED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC WITH MANY DESTINATIONS HAVING TO SHUT THEIR DOORS. THIS MUST MAKE YOU QUITE DOWNHEARTED. Yes, it does. But, this can only be the beginning of bigger things. It’s tough, but let’s not look back and move forward. We’’ll be so much stronger after this.
REFLECTING ON WOMEN’S MONTH, WHO ARE THE WOMEN THAT HELPED SHAPED YOU? My mom, Berdene Louw. Even when she goes through tough times, she’ll always be there for us, supporting and listening. Being away from home wasn’t always easy, but she supported me, no matter what. I’ll always be grateful for all her love, support and motivation. Dankie Mamma!
WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT TO STUDY TOURISM? Definitely, if seeing the world is your goal. Tourism opens the world to you and you are able to combine work with traveling. You work with people and need to have good communication skills. Tourism is fun, creative and makes you think on your feet. It gives you endless opportunities.
DO WOMEN MAKE BETTER LEADERS THAN MEN? I don’t think I’ll ever say no. I fully agree with our new Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, that women are the most powerful beings in the world and that we are capable of doing anything. Society labels women, but we should grab every opportunity and work hard towards what we want! Women are great listeners and value relationships. This gives us a strong understanding of what drives and motivates people. We are creative, problem solvers and excellent at multitasking. We also work well under pressure. Add our people management skills to the list, and we’ll definitely beat male leaders. Not so long ago, New Zealand was one of the countries without any cases of Covid-19. Of course, this country is in the hands of a powerful woman, Jacinda Ardern.
ARE YOU A PROPONENT OF THE ELEVATION OF WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE TO MEET TRANSFORMATION GOALS, OR SHOULD SUCH ELEVATION BE BASED ON SKILL, POTENTIAL ETC. REGARDLESS OF GENDER? No, I believe that people should be appointed because of their skill and ability to do the job. Unfortunately, there will always be this label on women not being able to do some of the “male” jobs. We, as a younger generation, can stop this. When you feel that your boss got his/her position because of his/her gender, and not because of his/her skills, it will definitely have an influence on how you do your job. Women, generally, have proved that we can do the job, and I strongly believe that we are able to get jobs because of our skills, and not because we are women.
DO YOU THINK CRITICISM ABOUT STRINGENT LOCKDOWN MEASURES LEVELLED AGAINST DR NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA, MINISTER OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE, AND LEADING FIGURE IN THE NATIONAL CORONAVIRUS COMMAND COUNCIL, IS FAIR? Lockdown is a difficult phase – a sudden break from the fast-moving life we were used to. It threw us off balance. One should look at it from a human and economic point of view. The difficulty arises because these are interrelated. If people stay home, their businesses are negatively impacted, which, in turn, affects the economy. If lockdown is lifted, more people may be infected and fatalities will rise, which again hits business and the economy. Government is made up of knowledgeable people who can handle the situation to the best of their ability. This might not be in line with how you and I will do it, but is most probably better. Let’s look forward and hope that someone finds a cure for Covid-19 soon.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS? Ten years is a very long time. I will be 37 by then. For now, I want to finish my degree and travel to see so much more of the world. My dream is to have my own business and be settled in one of my favourite destinations. I believe in taking it day by day, working towards my dreams, but never to count my chickens before they hatch.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT DURING THE TIME OF COVID-19? I’ve learnt that family are truly the only people who you can turn to when the world falls apart. Your potential and the impact you can make is all that matters. A tiny virus, that can only be seen microscopically, brought the entire world to a standstill.
WHAT MESSAGE OF INSPIRATION DO YOU HAVE FOR FEMALE STUDENTS WHO WANT TO REACH THE TOP? There are no shortcuts to success. Work hard and embrace experiences and opportunities that you can learn from. Always improve your knowledge, irrespective of your age. No matter how much experience and knowledge you have, there will always be something new to learn. Be yourself and never let anyone bring you down. Keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on God. See problems as challenges.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND BRED? In Makapanstad Village, North-West.
AS THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF YOUR FACULTY’S MENTORS, HOW DOES MENTORSHIP ASSIST STUDENTS TO MAKE A SUCCESS OF THEIR STUDIES? As mentors, we are the progressive buddies of the ICT Faculty. We provide relevant and practical knowledge as well as information to students, which assist them to reach their goals.
REFLECTING ON WOMEN’S MONTH, WHO ARE THE WOMEN THAT HELPED SHAPED YOU? My grandmother, Matshediso Kgarume, who raised me to be the woman I am today.
HOW WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT TO STUDY IT? We are in the early stages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, meaning that all IT specialists will help shape the future of the world. It becomes one’s chance to be creative with what you absolutely love doing. As an IT student, you are afforded some of the most interesting learning opportunities, which allow you to participate in a dynamic, problem-solving community.
DO WOMEN MAKE BETTER LEADERS THAN MEN? Yes, definitely! I believe in the saying by Barbara Bush: “To empower a woman, is to empower her children, family and community.” The smartest human investment we can make, is in women. Women must have the freedom to decide for themselves who they want to be.
ARE YOU A PROPONENT OF THE ELEVATION OF WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE TO MEET TRANSFORMATION GOALS, OR SHOULD SUCH ELEVATION BE BASED ON SKILL, POTENTIAL ETC. REGARDLESS OF GENDER? I’m a proponent of both because I believe separating the two is quite impossible.
DO YOU THINK CRITICISM ABOUT STRINGENT LOCKDOWN MEASURES LEVELLED AGAINST DR NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA, MINISTER OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND LEADING FIGURE IN THE NATIONAL CORONAVIRUS COMMAND COUNCIL, IS FAIR? Not at all! People often find it difficult to see how bad a situation can turn out. However, we must also appreciate that people have a right to have an opinion and criticise leaders on the decisions they take. I believe the Minister has people’s best interest at heart.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS? In a position where I’m on the edge of creative thinking and problem solving, and representing South Africa in solving socio economic issues through IT in a global context.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT DURING THE TIME OF COVID-19? To do things without being asked to do it, and accepting a situation for what it is. It’s hard to sit at home and wait for someone to tell you that you can finally leave your house. Making the most out of it, is the best way to keep sane.
WHAT MESSAGE OF INSPIRATION DO YOU HAVE FOR FEMALE STUDENTS WHO WANT TO REACH THE TOP? A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. They should never be afraid to speak up and fight for their dreams. That is what makes them stand out from the rest.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND BRED? In the beautiful Jacaranda City, Pretoria.
YOU CERTAINLY WEAR MANY HATS: TOP ACHIEVING STUDENT, WORKING AT TUT RUGBY, INVOLVED WITH THE VARSITY CUP RUGBY SET-UP, SPORT PHOTOGRAPHER AND VIDEOGRAPHER . . . NO WONDER FACULTY STAFF REFER TO YOU AS SUCH AN ALL-ROUNDER. TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU. I’ve always been a sport fanatic and it has constantly motivated me to do good in my academics. Unfortunately, I had to stop playing sport after I tore my ACL ligament in 2012. It shattered my world completely. In 2016, I started studying Sport and Exercise Technology. But, due to circumstances out of my control, I couldn’t finish my Biokinetics studies. I started studying Sport Management in 2017 and just knew this is where I belong. Sport has so many elements to it and I want to try everything to see what makes me tick, and what not. I started sport photography when I was still in high school. I love capturing moments that are not planned and seeing the outcome afterwards. My favourite activity is managing rugby. Although it’s a male-dominated sport, it gives me a chance to make my mark and also open the world for more women in the sport. My busy life motivates me to do well in my academics. It’s very important to find that balance and to keep it up. Just because I can’t play sport, doesn’t mean I can’t be part of the sport world.
REFLECTING ON WOMEN’S MONTH, WHO ARE THE WOMEN THAT HELPED SHAPED YOU? My mom (Erica Swart), grandma (Rina Pienaar), and lecturer (Dr Pam Serra).
WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT TO STUDY SPORT? Yes, definitely! Sport is growing and so many opportunities arise every day. It’s an area where you get to express yourself and go beyond your limits. I’ve learnt so many things about sport in the past few years, and there is so much more to learn. I haven’t even scratched the surface.
DO WOMEN MAKE BETTER LEADERS THAN MEN? Women would make better leaders than men in many situations, but, unfortunately, we haven’t always been given the opportunity to do so. Women excel in so many fields related to leadership, including planning and taking initiative. Women, more than often, underestimate themselves (me included), but in reality, we are more competent than we think. As soon as we realise that, we will become even better at leading. We just need to start owning what we have and what we are capable of.
ARE YOU A PROPONENT OF THE ELEVATION OF WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE TO MEET TRANSFORMATION GOALS, OR SHOULD SUCH ELEVATION BE BASED ON SKILL, POTENTIAL ETC. REGARDLESS OF GENDER? Elevation should be based on skill and potential. Elevation without skills can take a wrong turn, because other women who have worked hard for their positions, will be negatively affected. It might seem that they are promoted only to meet transformation goals.
DO YOU THINK CRITICISM ABOUT STRINGENT LOCKDOWN MEASURES LEVELLED AGAINST DR NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA, MINISTER OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND LEADING FIGURE IN THE NATIONAL CORONAVIRUS COMMAND COUNCIL, IS FAIR? Any criticism against the country’s leaders during this time is unfair. Although I don’t agree with Dr Dlamini-Zuma’s views on the forced quarantine of patients who tested positive for Covid-19, or the tobacco ban, she is doing what she thinks is right for the country. She’s doing her job and trying to protect all South Africans.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS? As a successful team manager at a professional rugby union, working on something I’m really passionate about, while earning an income from my own business in sport management and media. I would also like to establish a programme that supports females in rugby, whether to play or to manage. By then, I would also like to be married and have at least two children that I can motivate.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT DURING THE TIME OF COVID-19? To have patience. I don’t have a lot of patience, in general, but I really had to learn how to be patient with myself and family during this time. We all have our own way of dealing with struggles, and patience certainly helps. With patience also comes consistency. You have to be consistent in everything you do, as well as patient enough to wait for the results.
WHAT MESSAGE OF INSPIRATION DO YOU HAVE FOR FEMALE STUDENTS WHO WANT TO REACH THE TOP? It doesn’t get easier. But, if you have a passion for something, make sure that you never give up. Your plans can change, but as long as your goal doesn’t, you can still get there. Never ever stop fighting for your dream, and if people tell you that you will never make it, it’s the perfect time to PROVE THEM WRONG!
In 2017, during her B Tech year, she modelled a 2.5m sculpture of Oliver Reginald Tambo, along with Paballo Majela (then a third-year) and part time staff member, Zelda Stroud. It was unveiled at the international arrivals Hall of OR Tambo International Airport on 19 October 2017.
Cow participated with eight other Fine Art alumni and students in the prestigious 2017 NIROX Winter Sculpture Fair (13 May - July 2017).
In 2019, she bagged the Fashion Category of the PPC Imaginarium Art competition. In the same year, she was selected to participate in the Rand Merchant Bank Talent Unlock Mentorship programme.
Also in 2019, Cow, alongside her brother, Setlamorago (a printmaker and sculptor), was commissioned to create a life-size bronze cast sculpture of Zakithi Nkosi for the Zakithi Nkosi Clinical Haematology Centre of Excellence at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Soweto. The sculpture was unveiled on 1 June of that year.
In 2019, she also delivered papers at three conferences: Queer Visualities: African Perspectives, Other Perspectives at the North-West University (NWU); African Feminisms: Theorising from the Epicentres of our Agency at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS); and Museum Conversations 2019 hosted by the Goethe Institute, Namibia, coupled with a performance, titled Display Cases with Kamogelo Matsoso and Kamogelo Molobye.
In 2019, she formed part of the 34th annual SAVAH Conference hosted by the Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, from 11 - 13 September. Her paper was titled Speaking with ghosts: Hauntology, memory, nostalgia and other ways of engaging with past/present/future.
She was selected to be part of the 2019 National Artist Acceleration and Exposure Programme, launched by Mini Cooper (A3E).
Cow was part of an International Exchange programme with the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design, Addis Ababa University, in February 2019. During that time, she met the amazing Ethiopian-born international abstract artist, Julie Mehretu.
In 2019/20 she participated in an outdoor exhibition, called ABSRAKT, on the beach of Hermanus. It was curated by artist Gordon Froud.
HER ACTIVITIES FOR 2020, THUS FAR, INCLUDE PARTICIPATING IN THE FOLLOWING SHOWS:
• The annual Investec Cape Town Art Fair, which took place from 14 - 16 February, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. She also worked at The Project Space Booth for the full duration of the Fair.
• She showed her mettle at the NJE Collective (Namibian collective), an artist-run collective initiated in Namibia for artists from Southern Africa. The collective works under its own management, towards shared aims. It’s also a crucial mechanism for mentoring, support and shared resources.
• Exhibited at 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town.
• The Project Space at Victoria Yards in Johannesburg featured her work.
• Exhibited at the BKHZ Gallery (Johannesburg) from 25 January - 3 March. The title of the exhibition was Making of Ourselves. This was a female sculptors’ exhibition, and the first sculpture exhibition hosted at the gallery.
• Visitors to the 2020 Woordfees in Stellenbosch got to see her thought-provoking work.
• Also in Stellenbosch, she participated in the Knoop.Knot exhibition, featuring the work of more than fifty artists, exhibited in three galleries, and curated by artist, Louis Jansen van Vuuren.
• She is part of the V&A Waterfront 16 Voices.
• Cow is currently exhibiting her work at BKHZ with an exhibition, titled Habit (at). It captures artists’ process during lockdown. View the virtual exhibition HERE.
Vol12 no6 2020
BOITUMELO CHOENE, a Visual Communication student (Photography), captured our striking cover image. Heita! wishes all its female readers a happy Women’s Month and concurs with the saying: Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women!
ISONO centres around a dysfunctional family and a heroic son who searches within himself for the strength to stand up against a powerful and evil matriarch who will stop at nothing to serve her own needs.
Lesedi, Mpule’s character, is a 17 year-old orphan living in the House of Grace orphanage in Vosloorus, Johannesburg. She was brought to the home by a social worker when she was seven. She hides a special gift, a talent to sing, which changes her environment. “Viewers can follow her path as she fights to believe in herself being worthy of the gift,” says Mpule.
Mpule initially studied German Linguistics and International Relations at the University of Pretoria after an artistic journey at high school. “At first, I did not feel emotionally prepared for an artistic career,” she recalls.
“Whilst being an exchange student in Germany, a Croatian friend commented on my acting being impressive. I knew there and then that, when I go back to South Africa, I want to study Musical Theatre. Musical Theatre is a triple-thread course (training performers in acting, singing, and dancing) for artists with huge appetites, who push themselves to go beyond their talent. I knew Musical Theatre would demand discipline, collaboration, strategy, courage, and hard work, so I chose to transform,” she says.
ISONO is not Mpule’s television debut. She has portrayed a role in a Made for Television Movie, Mbalenhle, as well as a drama series, The Republic.
Asked what her fondest memories are of her days on the Arts Campus, she says: “I cherished being part of the Musical Theatre production, Showtime. Students took creative ownership and displayed confidence to express their artistry. The collaboration, audition processes and performance spaces we explored during my three years, were a test of whether or not I’m truly made for this industry. It was fun, but hard work. It pushed me to believe in myself and establish a work ethic, amongst others,” she concludes.
in gripping new
TV drama series
BET Africa (DStv 129) aired a gripping new local drama, titled ISONO (The Sin), from 27 July at 21:30. It stars Pretoria-born and raised rising star, Mpule Matlhola (26), who portrays the role of Lesedi. Heita! scooped an interview with the talented Musical Theatre alumna who studied at the Faculty of Arts & Design.
Musical Theatre alumna, Mpule Matlhola (26), portrays the role of Lesedi in a new television drama series, ISONO (The Sin).
I knew Musical Theatre
strategy, courage, and
hard work, so I chose
I used to think I was ugly! Marelie Louw (27) in the United Arab Emirates where she worked for three years.
Marelie Louw (27), a Tourism Management (Adventure Tourism) student studying for an Advanced Diploma, agrees with the notion that The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page. Before continuing with her studies some years ago, the Faculty of Management Sciences globetrotter worked at a five-star hotel on the Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for three years.
TURN TO PAGE 3 TO VIEW SOME OF MARELIE’S FAVOURITE PICTURES OF
Be yourself and never let anyone bring you down.
A DREAM WITHOUT AMBITION, IS LIKE A CAR WITHOUT GAS!
You’re not going anywhere.
The Anantara Desert Island Resort and Spa Hotel.
Year-end function representing our country.
SOMETIMES, IT’S WORTH NOT PUSHING THAT SNOOZE BUTTON.
Sunrise on Sir Bani Yas.
Exploring the culture of the United Arab Emirates at the
Grand Sheigh Zhaide Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
WORK FOR A CAUSE, NOT FOR APPLAUSE!
Planting mangrove to protect the island from erosion.
Teambuilding up the mountains.
“THE SLOWER YOU GO,THE MORE LIKELY IT IS YOU’LL CRASH!” – Juli Furtado
A ride up the solid domes of Sir Bani Yas.
ADVENTURE AWAITS! The beach of Sir Bani Yas Island.
Friends and colleagues became family.
KIND HEART, FIERCE MIND AND BRAVE SPIRIT! Giving some archery training.
ALL WOMEN SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE QUEENS!
Moving some Arabic tents to the store.
THE DESERT TELLS A DIFFERENT STORY EVERY TIME. The dunes of the Liwa Desert
– Qasr Al Sarab.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
“Life is too short not to go big!” – Josh Brender
HEALTH IS WEALTH! First Aid training.
Many people working in the tourism industry would give their front teeth to be employed at a plush five-star establishment. Adventure Tourism student, Marelie Louw (27), can tick that box. She has worked at the Anantara Desert Island Resort and Spa Hotel on the Sir Bani Yas Island for three years, and shares with us some her favourite photos of this adventure.
Leadership comes naturally to Thapelo Monakedi (21), a second-year Information Technology (IT) student specialising in Software Development at the Faculty of Information & Communication Technology (ICT). She is the Deputy Chairperson of the Faculty’s Mentors and lives by the principle of Let US do it, rather than YOU do it!
Within a woman
is the power
to create, nurture
for your dream.
Kgaogelo (Cow) Mashilo (25), an M Tech student at the Department of Fine & Studio Arts, Faculty of Arts & Design, is well on her way to become one of the country’s foremost artists. The latest feather in this gender champion’s cap is being featured as artist of the month (May) by the Southern African Foundation for Contemporary Art (SAFFCA). She shares some of her latest artworks with us.
Kgaogelo (Cow) Mashilo (25)
AND THE LIST OF ACCOLADES CONTINUES...
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