Mbombela Alumni Chapter welcomes new convenor


Johan Potgieter (Non-Executive Director and Mpumalanga Chairperson: IBASA), Lynette van Niekerk (Events Coordinator: DIA), Poppy Tshabalala (CIO and VP: ICT), T L B Manzini (Committee Member, Mbombela Chapter), Njabulo Mhlongo (Convenor: Mbombela Alumni Chapter), Prof. Moloko Sepota (Director: North Eastern Region), and Khomotso Khoza (Manager: Nelspruit Regional Service Centre)

The Mbombela Alumni Chapter Election Dinner was held on 13 April 2019 at the Mercure Hotel, Mbombela. Njabulo Mhlongo was elected convenor by alumni who attended the event.

To share Unisa’s vision and developments with alumni were Professor Moloko Sepota, Director of the North Eastern Region, Gilbert Mokwatedi, Communication and Marketing Manager of the region, and programme director Khomotso Khoza, who is the Manager of the Unisa Nelspruit Regional Service Centre.

The election process for the new convenor was facilitated by Lynette van Niekerk, Events Coordinator for the Department of Institutional Advancement.

Guest speaker Johan Potgieter, who is the Non-Executive Director and Mpumalanga Chairperson, Institute of Business Advisors Southern Africa (IBASA), said that IBASA is the only professional body that can assist interested people in becoming accredited business advisers.

Potgieter’s address centred around how new graduates can become part of the world of advising and assisting new, upcoming small businesses, as well as businesses that are growing and expanding. “The event is most appropriate for both Unisa and institutions such as IBASA to engage in the search of finding and developing young people who can contribute to our economic growth by assisting SMMEs,” he concluded.

eConnect took the time to find out a little more about the new convenor, Njabulo Mhlongo.

Who is Njabulo Mhlongo?

Njabulo Mhlongo is from Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal. He was born on 16 May 1988. Fast forward to university, Mhlongo said that he started studying with Unisa, majoring in agriculture while based at the Unisa Durban Campus. His studies were made possible by the Forestry and Fishers Scholarship, which offered a full scholarship. He however encountered difficulties with his studies, which afforded him a detour to another stream. He dropped out in 2007 and stayed home, only re-registering with Unisa in 2011, this time for a BEd degree.

Moving within teaching ranks

By the time he completed his degree in 2015, Mhlongo was already gaining work experience and knowledge through an internship programme at St Stithians Girls College. This is where, he said, he gained different skills from classroom management, teaching skills, work preparation to PowerPoint teaching presentations. Later in that year, he was appointed Head of Mathematics at St Peter’s School and moved to Head of House which dealt with school discipline.

The education journey at Unisa

He says that the experience of studying at Unisa was like a ‘confidence effervescent booster’. “There are many higher learning institutions, but nothing compares to completing your degree from a well-respected and internationally recognised institution like Unisa. Today, I am a proud and confident Unisa graduate and I can achieve anything I set my mind to. The Honours in Education Management (2018) qualification that I have adds great value to my career as an educator and opens doors whenever I go.”

Mhlongo regards open distance and e-learning as an experience that honed his leadership and time management skills. For him, this came with the responsibility of having to sacrifice time to submit assignments, study, and prepare for exams while having a full-time job.

His vision for the chapter

“I am not new to this chapter as I have been an active member for a couple of years. It is in my understanding that the position of convenor serves to mobilise alumni to support the university and its developments. I wish to see a chapter that is more engaged with its alumni as well as the community out there. We need communities that support our students through mentorship and tutorial support,” said Mhlongo.

*Submitted by Busisiwe Mahlangu
Communications Coordinator
Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2019/05/16