Friday, March 31, 2006

Entrepreneurship Presentation

There are lots of university unemployed graduates. This is due to lack of jobs in South Africa. There are more graduates than the market capacity. The better option would be for unemployed graduates to consider entering the world of entrepreneurship. In this way they would be contributing to creation of jobs and poverty alleviation in our country.

Marius Venter challenged me when he presented us on entrepreneurship. He gave us a task that unleashed our potentials in becoming entrepreneurs. At the end of presentation, entrepreneurs had emerged in the seminar. Marius defined an entrepreneur as some who can realize the opportunity and use it to gain profit and someone who looks at problems as challenges. Characteristics of a person play a pivotal role in becoming an entrepreneur. For the venture to be sustainable an entrepreneur should be responsible, creative, resilient, motivated, emotionally intelligent, a risk taker, have vision, leadership, negotiation and presentation skills and others.

The presentation motivated me to look at the opportunities within my community and use them. It is about who needs what out there and how the venture can add value to the community. The opportunities had been there but I did not know what it takes and where to start to become an entrepreneur. I feel I have the obligation to kick start a venture, create jobs and alleviate poverty in my community. It may benefit neighboring communities as it grows. This is the challenge I want to face. Thanks to Marius Venter on this informative presentation.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

No offence

I am tired of seeing Zuma's rape trial on every newspaper coverpage. Based on the information I have got so far, from the media, both parties are at fault. That is if there is rape in this case. Why did the victim wait for long before laying the charges? And if Zuma raped her, what was he thinking? What kind of messege is he giving the society? We normally look up to our leaders to convey positive messeges. Raping or sleeping with somebody HIV positive (provided it happened) without protection is being irresponsible. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do but wait till the end of the trial.

Writing for employability

I enjoyed Lesley Emanuel presentation on business writing skills. From the session I learnt it is important to write professionally in the corporate world. One should avoid bad writing because it takes longer to read, costs the company credibility and money and the message may be twisted. It also shows ignorance, lack of information and conscientious. Sentence construction and grammar also need to be considered.

To resolve this problem we need to check the spelling, use punctuation marks correctly, avoid a jargon and be careful when to use upper and lower cases. Brainstorming and proofreading save time and help with remembering important points, spelling check and grammar. Lesley encouraged us to use SPRAT-state the situation, problem, resolution, and then act and give thanks. She also encouraged us to keep it short and simple since we are not compelled to use big words and complex sentences. A writing process helps to organise thoughts, avoid frustration and procrastination and to use time productively and efficiently. Thanks to Lesley for a wonderful presentation.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

South Africa's intervention in Africa

Realists argue that South Africa acts like a big brother carrying a yard stick. Its intervention in other African states in civil wars is in persuit of selfish interests. All the nations are selfish and so South Africa is not an exeption. For instance, why would South Africa practice a soft diplomacy policy in Zimbabwe while intervening in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other contries that are far? They argue it is because DRC is very rich in natural resources and a lot of South African companies are already in the country to benefit from these resources.
Idealists maintain the spirit of pan-Africanism permeated decisions reached by foreign policy makers in the country. Thus her intervention seeks to promote development in the continent. South Africa's intervention is also based on its position as an industrially more powerful country. It is democratic and has the political know how.

In my view, it is the combination of the two. The driving force behind her intervention is to promote unity and solidarity amongst African states. The major challenges facing the continent are those of poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, and many others. Therefore, we cannot deal with these challenges unless the conflicts are resolved. On the other hand, South African companies have conquered the African markets. Why is it that South Africa used a different approach in Lesotho and Zimbabwe? One may argue it is because they have got little to offer South Africa.

Beautiful South Africa

I believe South Africa is blessed with beautiful and historical places that attract tourism. The smooth transition from apartheid to democratic regime made South Africa attractive. It made headlines globally and is now internationally recognised. The doors are now open for those who want to visit the country and the environment is friendly.
Soweto is one of the must visit places. It is historically known for the riots that took place in the country as a form of opposition to the oppressive regime in June 1976. Vilakazi street is in this township. It is the only street in the world which has been home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners namely the former president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Hector Peterson museum built in memory of a victim of the 1976 Soweto uprising can also be visited right here in Soweto.

There are lots of heritage sites in South Africa but I think Constitution Hill is breathtaking. The journey begins with the outside view of the former prison, then move on to the heritage buildings namely the Old Ford and Rampants, Section 4 and 5, Awaiting Trial and the Women's Gaol. As the guide tells about the brutality and degrading of prisoners that took place in these buildings one wonders how did those that survived made it. I got depressed and deprived of dignity through the tour while I put myself in the shoes of the former prisoners . But entering the Constitution Court soothed me. I felt calm and proud that after the hardships that they endevoured, all the South Africans are free. South Africa is integrated back into the international society. South Africa is a beautiful country with beautiful history and I wish all the South Africans could cherish that.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Getting an Internship

We had a session on what is it that the companies or organisations are looking for when they take an intern. From this I have learnt that companies and organisations want someone who is able to use brains and think within the box, that is complying with the rules and learning the culture of the company or organisation. Someone who can think outside the box, meaning coming up with the new ideas, someone who can realise the gaps and come up with solutions to close those gaps. A person who is able to think collectivelly, meaning to participate in a team in a meaningful way and somebody who can translate thinking into action and really work hard.
An intern has to be passionate or enthusiastic about task at hand. S/he has to have a desire to assist, learn, make mistakes and ask for help and learn again. Ability to use the skills and apply the theoretical knowledge is important. Talents should be used and the intern should aim at adding value to the company or organisation. Above these, an intern has to be reliable, motivated, responsible and have a sense of humour.
Making coffee is on the list of the expectations from the intern. But how does an intern deal with the situation whereby they are expected to do all the minial jobs. What will s/he gain from doing all these tasks that are not related to the area of study or of interest? I do not mind making coffee as one of job descriptions but mind it if that is the only thing to do.

Monday, March 20, 2006

BLOGGING

Some people do not see the importance of blogging. For those who think it is a waste of time, it is not. Take it as a marketing tool. When blogging, just tell yourself you are blogging for the employers to read your mind and aspirations. A lot of companies check the blogs when looking for potential candidates for internships or even permanent positions. So continue blogging.

Consider blogging as a way of sharing ideas with other individuals from different perspectives. A personal diary that helps to improve one's communication skills and gramma. Comments from other bloggers also assist with development areas. You may be wrong and another blogger may correct you. In that way, you learn to rectify your mistakes and get well informed. For me reading other peoples' blogs is interesting. I learn a lot from those blogs, they kind of stimulate me to read and aqcuire more information.
Blogging is really fun since you write about your own experiences or your own feelings. It is not like a newspaper article or an academic script where you need to source the information. The blogs show creativity and measure emotional intelligence. It is a scale to weigh how knowledgeable one is. However, avoid plagiarism. Remember to make comments on other's blogs. I enjoy blogging.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A matter of concern

I am worried about the teenage pregnancies in South Africa. Only a few teenage girls matriculate before their studies being interupted by pregnancy. Are these young girls not aware of the shark called HIV and AIDS. Young people are not considered able to maintain secure, happy marriages, there is concern for the health of the babies, and for the dependency burden on families and social welfare .
According to Lovelife advertisements, teen pregnancy increases risk of contracting HIV and AIDS. After digesting this advertisement I thought to myself, this really makes sense. The teenagers are still idle. How many partners are they going to engage with before settling ang marrying if ever that happens. The chances are they will have been involved with more than two partners. This is a life risk at the time when HIV and AIDS pandedemic is so prevalent.
When a girl leaves school early, her career opportunities are limited and she may fail to establish her independence. It appears that at least half of SA girls that fall pregnant hope to return to school. Some studies say they all do but, is that hope fulfilled? Yes and no, it seems. The issue of completing high school education has to be seen in the light of what is normal. With childbearing responsibility, these young mothers fail to concentrate on their studies efficiently resulting in poor results. This demotivates them from trying and furthering their studies.

The South African government came up with the social grant. Unfortunately, in most cases, the grant is used by young mothers for their own needs and not childrens needs. In other cases, the grant is a motivating factor, more children and more money. I am not against the idea of social grant provided it benefits the children as intended but this is not the case. Perhaps the government should change the strategy. Give the mothers food and clothing coupons instead of cash. This way the children will benefit from the grant. With free education and health services what else would they need the money for?

Women Empowerment in Africa

At least Africa is moving in a progressive direction when it comes to the empowerment of women. Women in Africa have suffered the subordination by their male counterparts socialy, politicaly and economicaly. At the social level, they were and some are still subordinate to their husbands. Men made decisions as head of the families while women just had to obey.
Politicaly, even today, there is still a small number of female parliamentarians but that is about to change. The year 2005 was marked by continued progress and new records for women in the political field http://www.ipu.org/PDF/publications/women06_en.pdf. Women are now included in post-conflict reconstruction in countries such as Liberia, Rwanda and Burundi to mention the few. Liberia broke the record by electing Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as a female president for a 6-year term. South Africa held local government elections in March 2006 and a number of female mayors has gone up.
Efforts have been made to empower women economically and the starting point was to educate them. The purpose of the initiatives such as Africa Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (AFWE) operating in 45 Sub-Saharan African countries, African and American Women's Alliance (AAWBA) and BITS Africa to mention the few, is to foster busines opportunuties for women. South Africa has the third-highest proportion worldwide of companies employing women at senior managerial positions.
Some of the African initiatives may have failled. The OAU failed the Africans and NEPAD is accused of not representing the needs of Africans although I believe the initiation of NEPAD was a good move. Rome was not build in a day and therefore NEPAD aspirations are still to be realised. But African leaders have realised that Africans should find solutions to African problems themselves. For how long will Africa depend on the handouts? The point is, despite some hic ups in the African development, the continent is doing well when it comes to the recognition of women potentials. Women of Africa are given the platform and therefore are at the centre stage.Door are open and now it is up to women to prove themselves.

World of Work Training Programme

The Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Wits University, offers world of work training to post graduate students who are faced with the unknown real world of work.http://www.pghumanities.wits.ac.za/wow/ The programme equips trainees with the skills that prepare them to become potential employees once they enter the real world of work. They learn presentation, business report writing, communication, stress management, teamwork skills etc. It also provides trainees with an opportunity to interact with individuals from diverse culture and academic field and thus learn from this diversity.
Presenters from different organisations and businesses give trainees an idea of what is expected from employees and what to expect in the workplace. The world of work requires knowledgeable persons. From this I have learnt that there is competition and only the fittest can survive in the workplace. In order to remain abreast with everyday issues, one has to read, read, read and read as one of the previous interns, 'Mamokuena Makhema has said. One has to be well informed. Commitment, hardwork, passion and determination are the keywords. We need salaries to make ends meet but "what value can I add to the company" is the starting point.
The programme has helped me to reclaim my confidence that was stolen by the fear of the unknown world. I believe that I am now ready and prepared to go out there, face the reality of workplace and apply my knowledge and skills. I am confident that I can add value in a company because I have the potential.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Lebohang Profile

Lebohang is my name, a proudly South African woman born three decades ago. I started having an interest in politics from an early age. It was such interest that led me to studying International Relations and Politics at Wits. Armed with my B. A. Degree, I furthered my studies with the University of KwaZulu-Natal and received a B. A. Degree in Social Studies (Political Science). The title of my Honours thesis was: “DRC Peacekeeping: South Africa’s role”. Its focus was to analyse South Africa’s foreign policy as it applies to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

African development issues are at the forefront of African leaders in an effort to better position the continent in world politics and economy while addressing various social issues affecting African communities, i.e. poverty, women empowerment, the pandemic HIV/AIDS, etc. As a future potential employee, who identifies the significant role communities can play in achieving Africa’s development, my career objectives are to put into practice the theoretical academic training and the World of Work training to ensure that I am part of the partnership to encourage Africa’s development. With my academic background, commitment, responsible character, the World of Work training will give me the edge I need to succeed in the workplace by equipping me with business skills to join the business world with confidence and an understanding of the challenges ahead of me as a potential employee.

Lesotho's Economy

Lesotho is one of the poorest counties in the continentwith few resources, water and diamonds.The country'seconomy is based on subsistence farming and animalhusbandry, as well as small-scale industries that includeclothing, footwear, textiles, food processing andconstruction http://www.lesotho.gov.ls/lseconomy.htm. Butwith draughts in the past few years, farming and animalhusbandry have become dusfunctional. Clothing and footwearindustries have thus become the backbone of the economy.Most of these industries are owned by the Chinese and fewIndians. The country provides these industries with cheaplabour.These people work long hours, earn minimum wages andwork under terrible conditions and still remain poor. Thelabour movement is next to non-existance. My point is thecountry does not care for its people. Basotho in thevillages do not have access to clean water, sanitation,electricity and the infrastructure is poor. Since thecountry has limited natural resources, the best thing wouldbe to educate its people so that it can export the skills.In contrast to this, the Basotho leave the country and lookfor greener pastures elsewhere especially in South Africa.The labour department should see to it that the workingconditions are improved and the incentives increase.