Friday, March 31, 2006

The reasons why I went into the social sciences

I did my studies from the humanities because my intention was to work with people, I was also curious about people's differences and their general well-being.At the same time I also enjoy helping out in the community wherever I can.

Yesterday I was humbled to be in the presence of Ghadija Vallie. I was greatly inspired by her as she gave me a different outlook in doing community service. I believe that most importantly she instilled very good values which motivated to have a good vision, be creative and have the ability to recognise opportunities. I know that before, when I saw a social problem I always depended on financial and professional help. But she has helped me to look beyond that as she shared some of her touching experiences as a human activist.

Today I was pleased to find out more about the organisation, Independent Development Trust. I have always wanted to work in an organisation that focuses on community development and poverty alleviation while at the same time work with people in fields like HR.
Audrey and Bertra's presentation was very informative as they addressed clearly their mission and modus operandi of the organisation.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I found the presentation on Nedlac to be very beneficial as it deepened my understanding of what Nedlac stands for and its modus operandi. It was interesting to know that it deals with addressing socio-economic issues such as unemployment, poverty, inequality and economic growth. What I didn't know is that the community can also play a role in Nedlac. Also the fact that all 4 chambers have a chance of tabling their wish list which is then negotiated and decided by this body . I often thought decision- making was made in government and how- I didn't know.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The art of writing and speaking in a business context

In the beginning of her presentantion Lesley Emanuel used the phrase," Credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.- Sir Francis Bacon". This is important because good and effective communication in a business takes place when a person conveys his/her thoughts, ideas, feelings in a way that enables the receiver to obtain an accurate and clear picture of the intended message. Lesley emphasised that business writing is an extremely important extension of a business/company. As an academic person I am now faced with the challenge of changing my writing to fit a business context and that goes to even emailing. I can imagine that most daily running-business depends on conveying a message, receiving, reading and answering different messages.
For business writing I have to be concise, clear, choose my words carefully and proof read my messages.I greatly appreciate Lesley's tip for organising information and that is the sprat tool . According to this I have to look at the situation first, then the problem, resolution, action and thanks.

While writing is one thing, speaking is another thing. The two speakers Des and Robert alerted me that there is a difference of presenting to your peers/colleagues at varsity and presenting at a company. I must say I can never get over the feeling of standing up,presenting and to people I do not know. But there are points I am taking with from Des and Rob's presentation and that is:

  • Presenting (know my audience,rehearse, and prepare venue and equipments).
  • Purpose (grab attention, give clear message, spell out the relevance of the topic and give examples).
  • Presence (as speaker I should establish my presence).
  • Passion (if you have drive, people will believe you).
  • Personality (as a speaker I should always remember to be myself).

Monday, March 27, 2006


Throughout Marius Venter's presentation, I asked myself the question of whether I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. The reason being that I have always viewed entrepreurship to be a difficult undertaking as it involves risk taking. I have also seen many businesses fail because of missing some of the characteristics I have learnt today.
From I learnt of the difference between intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship. The first kind involves operating from within the organisation ,with already available resource with the motive of making more savings for the organisation. While the entrepreneuship is working outside organisation with limited/no resources and as acoording to Marius, with the motive of profit-making.

Today I have learnt the importance of working on developing to be an entrepreneurship. I know I might have the passion and creativity to develop a consulting business in future but I need to add to these values. I have to see that my business has a vision for the future and survival, consider the risks I will be taking, network with more people, plan my business with an advisor and use my communication and networking skills.
Moreover, as Shameen Naidu said in order for one to be successful you need emotional intelligence. I need to work on handling my stress, emotions and arguements that may occur within my business in future. I believe that this would start by being exposed to an organisational context and from that I will be able to learn and develop.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

What I look for in an intern.

After Gordon Freer's presentation I was motivated and felt worthy as a potential intern. I further on wished that all employers were like that. Gordon made it clear that an internship should be a two-way process- what is the organisation's expectations and the intern's expecations. As an intern I should know what I am expecting from the internship and in my case that is to gain hands on experience and to see how my theoretical framework/what I learnt at tertiary fits in with the world of work. I know that I should also add value into the organisation, to think independently and in some situations collectively in a team.
At the same time I am driven by passion to learn more in my internship. I want to use it as a means to discover my true career potentials and to develop personally and career-wise.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The scourge of HIV/AIDS and in the workplace

The scourge of HIV/AIDS has become a serious and a sad phenomena in South Africa and throughout the world. Having been to Christine Randall's presentation, I came to the conclusion that so many challenges are still facing the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Firstly there is the problem with the education itself. As Zanele mentioned, most people are illiterate and do not understand messages in the media. Also Christine mentioned that there should be a concerted effort to educate the youth about sex and its effect because they are the people who are most at risk.Then there is the role of stress in HIV. Again some people from certain cultural perspectives regard HIV and the whole concept of sexuality as a taboo. Thus they do not find it easy to reveal their HIV status and begin to harbour it in inside. As a result they die quickly because of stress. Shameen also mentioned in her presentation that 80% of people who report sick are not exactly sick but are undergoing stress.
Thirdly there is the role of stigma and discrimination. As long as some people still fear and are ignorant about HIV/AIDS we will not go anywhere as a country. For as a human being living in South Africa I know people who died from AIDS and thus cannot begin to judge. Then there are problems with the spread of HIV/AIDS caused by alcohol consumption especially amongst the youth, the role of sex workers and poverty.

Christine also mentioned that it is important for the workplace to be considerate about HIV/AIDS. Some employers are very supportive of their HIV positive employees. The role of education should play an important role to alleviate stigma and to prevent employees from being infected. Lastly I also believe that HIV/AIDS does not only affect the infected person emotionally and physically but involves also their family, community and other workers. Thus the employee assistance programme should also play a role in assisting the infected workers as well as their family and fellow workers in dealing with HIV/AIDS.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My eye on business

I think it was imperative that the programme also include soci-economic issues. As someone who plans to have a management consulting business in the next few years, I found the presentations on corporate citizenship, Nepad as well as competition, collaboration and cooperation very useful.

Thanks to Paul Kapelus I now know the rationale on why companies exists. A company should not only concerntrate on profit-making but should add value- meaning to the people/society it operates upon. I believe job creation projects and support for entrepreneurial small businesses feature prominently in corporate social investment. Through my future business endevours I will always remember to invest and connect with a company that adds value to society and has a future-oriented vision.

Josie Rowe-Setz enriching presentation was an eye-opener as I can now see my potential business in clusters.Through my management consultant business I can see other sectors (clusters) forming such as financial, marketing, communication, office automation, teaching and development. This would also mean job creation.

I agree with Peter Metcalfe that it is sad that there is a misperception/misuse of the meaning of Nepad and BEE. I believe as a prospective entrepreneur I will perhaps add value in creating wealth (employment) and along the way eradicating poverty.

Interviewing skills

Thank you Wickus Joubert and Willemien Strydom on your advices on cv writing and interviewing skills. Your answers might have contradicted what I already knew or thought was right around interview and cv. But most importantly you added valuable information. I am already working on my cv.
Although I can never say I am prepared for an interview, I now know that it is important to add confidence, attentiveness and alertness to listening and answering techniques. The first presenters on the programme also talked on the importance of living a positive attitude and confidence when in an interview and after an interview.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Lessons on stress management and customer service

Firstly I would like to thank Shammen Naidu for highlighting the importance of adopting healthy techniques as a manner of dealing with stress. As people we sometimes fall into bad habits such as drinking, drugs and bad eating as a manner of dealing with stress because they offer immediate reaction and are simple. As much as I will be practising the healthy stress management techniques (talking to people, positive thinking, assertiveness, mediation, healthy eating and exercise) I will be also dessimating the message to people around me.

I also learnt a lot from Aki Kalliatakis's lively presentation on the evolution of customer care.I will remember that it is the way a company treat its customers that determines whether they will come back. The most important lessons I am taking with is that when a company's delivery is more than the customer's expectations then you get delighted customers, when the company's delivery is equal to the customer's expectations then you get satisfied customers while when the delivery is less than the expectations then you get unhappy customers.
I believe that if a company is striving to produce quality products, it should also strive to produce quality service. It is the little things that counts when we become associated to a company.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

There is no I in we

I liked the way Brad Arden used the phrase," there is no I in we". I have always been pro-teaming and team work and his presentation accentuated my liking and knowledge for team work.
I found that in the different presentations I had to do for postgraduate, it was easier and faster to come to come-up with an idea when I was in a team of 4/5 than when I was alone. This could be attributed to the fact that people share their different abilities when in a team and thus increase productivity.I also found that the more diverse the team, there more it was easier to tackle the task at hand.
I also often found myself to be more committed to a task when I was in a team than when I was alone.
I also believe that teamwork can make one feel more motivated and confident because you know that no matter what you come up with, has a backing of different expertise.
Another thing I enjoyed about working in teams is that it improves communication and thus your mind becomes stimulated to more ideas. When working alone I had more of an internal communication and it did not help to make me resourceful.

Thee intelligence for social science students

I often find myself distrurbed by society's pre-conceived view and that is people who take career paths in the lines of humanities and social science do not have a mental ability. Ofcourse it did not make sense because when faced with a problem a psychologist, sociologist, social anthropologist, economist and politician can reason, make a decision and in the process act effectively from their own perspective.
ShameenNaidu mentioned that successful people get to where they are because of emotional intelligence. It was afterall emotional intelligence which helped Patricia Gallup launch and grow a computer firm with just a degree in anthropology. She was always open with her staff and had the ability to communicate. I read from http//, that most successful US Navy leaders were more warmer, outgoing, emotionally expressive, dramatic and sociable.
If I further think of students from the prestigious engineering, life science or commerce I can observe that they also need "thee intelligence " to get along around campus and life.They too need to be aware of their feelings (why are they stressed before an exam), know how to manage emotions (deal with their stress), have the ability to persist in the face of setback (to go on if they fail) and be able to sense what others are feeling (know how their mate feel if they do not do well) and handle their emotions.
The ingredients for success is ofcourse 67% of thee emotional intelligence and 23% academic intelligence.

The missing pieces of my job-hunting puzzle

Before being motivated by Tina Thomson's presentation, I used to be confused as to why I never secured a job for myself. I had a very low self esteem, lacked enthusiasm and dreaded going to anymore interviews. The whole thing of listening to tips of job hunting just didn't work.

But now, I have found two pieces to fill in my job-hunting puzzle and they are resilience and a positive attitude. Tina mentioned that a workplace is guaranteed of chaos and that you need the two values to put up with the compressing work situations. From my experience with the interviews is that they can be not what you expect them to be or have prepared them to be. I now know that it does not take you wearing an impressive suit, having a prestigious educational history or having all the necessary experience, what is important is leaving a good impression that you are enthusiastic and optimistic. Afterall it all makes sense that no employer can hire a non-assertive and gloomy- looking person. I read somewhere in the Star 2003 an article,"Secretaries: the new management" and in this article it said that in today's century the question is no longer about who is the boss but who has what it takes to be a boss and that is a positive attitude.
I am now looking forward to my next interview and that is to leave a positive impression, well spoken words and effective non-verbal communication (that say I am enthusiastic). While at the same time I will remember to practice those tools of resilience when going to an interview or in a work situation.

I was further motivated by what Michele Buthelezi and the two past interns said as they also emphasised on those two pieces- resilience and a positive attitude.