Examining SA's readiness for the next crisis

Ashley Rasebotsa (business coach and futurist) recently addressed the Unisa Polokwane Alumni Chapter.

Members of the Unisa Polokwane Alumni Chapter took part in a virtual alumni meeting on Thursday, 8 October 2020. The guest speaker was business coach and futurist, Ashley Rasebotsa, who addressed the topic: “Is South Africa ready for the next pandemic or crisis?” The event was focused on networking and the creation of opportunities to collaborate with the alma mater—all aimed at helping students to succeed and at ensuring the long-term sustainability and development of the institution.

According to Rasebotsa, everyone is talking about going back to the old normal—but they seem to have forgotten that the normal they knew was not normal at all. “South Africa’s current economic trajectory indicates that the next pandemic the country will face will be unemployment.”

He said that the predicament in which South Africa’s economy finds itself can be attributed to a combination of external and internal forces, as well as self-inflicted weaknesses. “These include the volatility of the global economic environment, greed, the impact of Covid-19 on small, micro, and medium enterprises (SMMEs), and inequality in the education system.”

Some of the interventions that Rasebotsa suggested and that South Africa might consider as part of the effort to get itself ready included making the study of entrepreneurship compulsory from primary school level to tertiary level, supporting retrenched workers in starting their own business ventures, scaling-up micro-enterprises, accelerating land redistribution, encouraging localisation or import substitution, developing crowdfunding and venture capital ecosystems, and deploying savings from stokvels to support start-ups.

The Unisa North Eastern Regional Director, Professor Moloko Sepota, said that it was heart-warming that the Polokwane Alumni Chapter had been behind the organising of such a wonderful event to discuss topical and important matters in an attempt to promote the general welfare of our institution. “The Covid-19 pandemic, whilst devastating the world, also gave us an opportunity to test Unisa’s abilities as an open distance e-learning (ODeL) institution in that we intensified our efforts of providing services remotely through online platforms,” he said.

Sepota further stated that the success of the event was ample evidence that the convenor and the team were living up to expectations. “They can therefore be assured of the support of central Alumni Relations in Pretoria and the region so that they can continue coming up with initiatives.”

The Polokwane Chapter’s programme for 2020 includes the introduction of conversations with industry leaders. These conversations will be aimed at assisting with enhancing the social and professional skills of students, as well as facilitating winter schools for high school students and promoting computer literacy and coding skills in communities. According to Malesela Maubane, Convenor of the Polokwane Chapter, “The hope is that these programmes will ensure that alumni can continue to play their part in the general welfare of Unisa and their surrounding communities, which will go a long way in attracting prospective students and preparing them for the corporate world whilst contributing towards skills development among the Limpopo youth and unemployed.”

In line with this sentiment, the chapter has adopted the Dr MJ Madiba High School in Ga-Madiba village in the Mashashane area for its 2019-2022 term of office and as part of its community engagement and outreach initiatives. The high school is named after the late author, educationalist, and first African Chancellor of the then University of the North (now the University of Limpopo), Moses Josiah Madiba. Significantly, the Unisa Faculty of Education conferred an honorary DEd on Madiba in 1973 for meritorious services as linguist, author, educationist, and community leader. His published books, in Northern Sotho, include Thuto ya Polelo (1941), Tsiri (1942), the Mahlontebe series (1952) and Nkotsana (1955).

Click here to email Malesela Maubane, Convenor of the Polokwane Chapter, for more information.

*By Malesela Maubane, Convenor, Polokwane Chapter

Publish date: 2020/10/14