Vol1 no1 2016
The Alumni newsletter of the
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)
Tune into our rhythm
Dear TUT Alumnus,
OUR BEAT will cover a wide range of topics, aimed at entertaining and keeping you up-to-date with the latest developments at your Alma Mater. I trust the content will appeal to everyone, young, and the not so young amongst you.
Since OUR BEAT is for Alumni and about Alumni, this is an open invitation to contact the editorial staff and share your own stories and experiences with us. It is no secret that the University will face difficult challenges, brought about by national developments in higher education, in the coming year. It is, however, my firm believe that the support, commitment and loyalty of our Alumni, will go a long way in steering the University in the right direction.
Alumni are the most valued stakeholders of any University. Because of this, your views and your involvement are extremely important to TUT. We look forward to hear from you and welcome you back on campus often.
Lourens van Staden (Prof)
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
Welcome to OUR BEAT, the official TUT Alumni newsletter. The establishment of a dedicated Alumni publication has been one of the Alumni Office’s priorities for 2016, which was made possible by the recent appointment of a communication officer, Mr. Kefentse Molotsane, at the Alumni Relations Office.
Your view matters
SALT AND PEPPER SET
All you have to do is answer the following
question (don’t fret, you should get the answer somewhere in this edition):
IN WHICH YEAR DID MMATEMA COMPLETE HER STUDIES?
Please send your answer, name and contact number to firstname.lastname@example.org before or on 31 March 2016. Please mark the subject field: COMPETITION. The winner will be announced in the next edition. Only registered TUT alumni can enter. Good luck!
This publication may contain third party advertisements and links to third party sites. The Tshwane University of Technology does not make any representation as to the accuracy or suitability of any of the information contained in these advertisements or sites and does not accept any responsibility or liability for the conduct or content of those advertisements and sites and the offerings made by the third parties.
TUT’s alumni are the key products of TUT and the most important manifestation of the institution’s excellence.
What is alumni?
Alumni leave their mark on society all over the world and in this way TUT is recognised. Our graduates make an immeasurable contribution to represent TUT at first hand, locally and abroad. The University wants to continue engaging with alumni as a very important stakeholder group.
FIVE CATEGORIES OF ALUMNI@TUT HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED:
Since participation is voluntary, all graduates are regarded as Ordinary Alumni; Alumnus (male) or Alumna (female) who will enjoy basic benefits.
Alumni Chapter Members (both Faculty and Special Interest Chapters) will comprise Alumni who hold chapter membership and enjoy additional benefits.
Honorary Alumni are individuals who received Honorary Doctorates from the University. Alternatively, these are individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the wellbeing of the University, be it monetary, by another means, or by making substantial contributions towards other University initiatives.
‘Alumni’ is a word that describes TUT graduates collectively. Derived from the Arabic word aalim, ‘alumni’ means ‘scholar or an expert in a defined field’. The word is also a Latin noun (alumnus), meaning ‘foster son or pupil’, which is derived from the verb alere (‘to nourish’). If you are a female graduate, you are called an ‘alumna’ (pl. ‘alumnae’) and if you are a male graduate, you are called an ‘alumnus’ (pl. ‘alumni’). The university you graduate from is your Alma Mater (bountiful mother’).
Friends of Alumni@TUT are individuals who may not have completed their studies, but still show an interest in the University, or any other citizen with an interest in the wellbeing of the University. These individuals will enjoy basic benefits but cannot become chapter members.
Pre-Alumni are current students willing to participate in voluntary pre-alumni programs offered by the Alumni Relations Office in order to prepare them for future involvement and to become committed graduates.
Did you know?
A start of a new beat
I would like to wish you and your loved ones all the best for the year ahead. I hope that 2016 will be an excellent year in which you achieve all the targets and challenges that you have set for yourself.
It is with great pleasure that I bring you the latest edition of our Alumni newsletter, Our Beat. This is one of our many ways to stay connected with you, and inform you of any developments at TUT.
In this exciting issue of Our Beat, read more on how the University aims to ensure that every student gets a chance to finish their studies through the TUT Bursary and Scholarship Fund, and how you can be part of this legacy.
We also touched base with some of our alumni who are flying the TUT flag up high in their field of specialisation, and we’ll still bring you more of their stories. We would really love to hear from you, whether it is regarding your career and personal news, such as, awards, achievements or advancement in your workplace. We want to share and celebrate your success with you, so do write to us.
Thank you in advance for your continued support, we are looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Alumni’s involvement helps TUT to remain the University of Excellence that it is. As a member of the alumni body you can support your Alma Mater in the following ways:
To promote TUT to prospective students and their parents, fellow Alumni, opinion makers, potential donors, employers and supporters.
To advise the Alumni Relations Office of potential sources of new funding, assist current students and recent graduates with career opportunities and alert TUT about possible investment vehicles and opportunities; advise on good governance, quality of teaching and learning; relevance of curriculum content; and employability of graduates.
To help sustain the future financial wellbeing of TUT.
Alumni keen on
building University reputation
A trip to nostalgia now and then is good for the spirit. That is what Alumni experienced, as they returned to their Alma Mater on 24 November 2015, at the Pretoria Campus, where they met and engaged with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Lourens van Staden.
The main aim of this event was to engage with the TUT Alumni, and provide them with an update on the current status and future plans of the University.
The University has, for too long, neglected its Alumni, and plans are now underway to host such get-togethers, which will be coordinated annually by the faculties. This will bring former students back to the University.
“Alumni are a valuable asset and need to be recognised and supported. You don’t stop being part of the University when you graduate. You actually achieve the status of being a lifelong partner of the institution,” Prof Lourens van Staden said.
“On behalf of TUT, we are extremely proud of our Alumni, and want to acknowledge and salute them for what they have achieved in their lives and careers.”
“One of our main strengths is focussing on strategic areas that are aimed at solving national problems in ways that transcend the narrow enclaves of disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach has triggered growth in areas such as health, water, energy, entrepreneurship, telecommunications, and creating an enabling environment for the disabled,” Prof Lourens concluded.
Pieter Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of the Arts and Culture Trust, said: “The value of this initiative
is that it not only links the University to Alumni, but that it facilitates opportunities for relationship building among Alumni. It provides a platform for engagement where Alumni can impart industry knowledge to students.”
Lerato Kubheka, a successful entrepreneur, shared her views on the importance of promoting entrepreneurship through Alumni events. “To invite all Alumni, from different spheres of life, to share their opinions and experiences, is a brilliant idea. Many graduates will be employed. However, some of them will become entrepreneurs. From this moment forward, I and other Alumni will provide guidance for the budding entrepreneurs through rigorous engagement and dialogue. Our experiences will help them before going into business ventures.”
During his vote of thanks, Prof Stanley Mukhola, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning with Technology, said: “We follow our Alumni in the media and in the world of work. We are proud and grateful that you have represented us well. We encourage you to continue supporting the University by engaging, advising, and sharing your ideas.”
“Alumni of TUT are regarded as the most important stakeholder and we hope that you will support your Alma Mater as we will face extremely challenging times ahead”, Prof Stanley concluded.
Carrol Matjeni, former Fashion Design graduate is all smiles.
Professor Stanley Mukhola, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning with Technology, Mr. Danie Ferns, Deputy Director Individual giving, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Lourens van Staden, Paul Modjadji and Pieter Jacobs all in a jolly mood.
Pieter Jacobs, Paul Modjadji and partner, Thabo Pitso, Lerato Kubheka in conversation with the VC.
with Mmatema – Idols finalist
AGE: 23 years old
PLACE OF BIRTH: Limpopo Groothoek hospital in Zebediela
YEAR COMPLETED: 2013 degree in Linguistics
CURRENT POSITION AND WHAT THE ROLE ENTAILS: Full time artist. Aim to grow in the music industry.
WHAT IS YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF YOUR DAYS AS A STUDENT?
Being independent and studying getting distinctions. Playing pool and performing at competitions.
BEFORE IDOLS, WHAT WERE YOU BUSY WITH OR WORKING ON?
I was a choir assistant coach. An assistant at DSTV and part-time online translator.
TAKE US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE AFTER IDOLS?
Wake up and pray. Radio and TV interviews. Rehearsals for performances.
AT THE TIME OF COMPETITION, HOW DID YOU FEEL KNOWING THAT YOU COULD BE THE FIRST FEMALE IDOL WINNER?
There was never a day where I would not work hard knowing a lot of people are depending on me to bring it home. But I still said before the gender, Idols needs a winner, so it never really got to me.
WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE JUDGE AND WHY?
All of them, because they all had something different to say that helped me in my music growth. Although there is one that never said anything that would make me a bit sad – that is Gareth.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT?
Wow! I learnt a number of things. I learned that I can be versatile and I’m a hard worker. Punctuality, because everything happened on time. Discipline in music. Music range. Mic technique and group work.
WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES BEING ON IDOLS?
Song choice and getting out of the gospel circle that I grew up in. Working very hard with no sleep and gym all the time. Adapting to cameras.
HOW DID YOU OVERCOME CRITICISM FROM SOCIAL MEDIA?
I never looked into it because I know it is not true. So I just focused on what I was after.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO CURRENT STUDENTS WHO ASPIRE TO BE ON IDOLS
If it’s really what you want to do then do
not allow anything to stop you.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Keep performing and staying relevant
in the music industry. I want to
spread my wings and move to other
aspects like presenting and branding.
Growing the brand Mmatema.
Full accreditation for TUT MBA
TUT recently announced that it had received ‘full accreditation’ to grant a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) by the Council of Higher Education (CHE).
This means that TUT’s MBA can be offered with no changes or conditions and that the CHE is completely and wholeheartedly satisfied with all aspects of the programme.
The newly accredited MBA programme is unique in the South African market. The programme is tailored after the MBA programme offered by the Kellogg School of Management at the North Western University, Chicago, USA. The content places emphasis on practical applications of theoretical principles in business, industry and government.
The Kellogg programme is one of the most competitive MBA programmes globally and is highly sought after by business and industry leaders, entrepreneurs and scholars with a diverse background. Considering the fact that TUT is a University of Technology (UoT), adopting the Kellogg model was strategically and operationally logical, prudent and wise.
Dr Vinessa Naidoo, Acting Director of the Business School, says having an MBA helps with holistic and strategic thinking. “After having done an MBA, one would never be the same again. Whilst learning strategic thinking in various disciplines, the salient learning of teamwork, relationship building and confidence enhancements, are also major outcomes”, she added.
At present, there are about 300 students and on average, the university, accepts about 75 first-year applicants. Dr Naidoo says the MBA aims to provide a highly competitive, practical and affordable MBA that is suitable for providing quality services to the global community in areas where the principles of business administration, sound management, marketing, good leadership and entrepreneurial sciences can make a positive difference in the lives of people and communities.
“We aspire to be financially viable in the next few years and to cement the newly accredited NQF Level 9 MBA in the marketplace. It is our desire to increase our current throughput for Master’s and Doctoral level students. We had 48 graduates in 2014 and 52 graduates in 2015. We intend to improve this figure significantly in the years ahead. We also hope to increase our number of academic staff shortly. We are improving our current infrastructure with a view to grow our capacity in the marketplace. We also aim to offer various short-learning and executive education programmes as a means of generating income” Dr Naidoo concluded.
FOR MORE INFO, CLICK HERE:
STUDENTS AT PRESENT ON AVERAGE
FIRST-YEAR APPLICANTS ACCEPTED
TUT Alumni doing it for themselves
Interview with Zola Pato,
Managing Director, Tegmul Services
YOU QUIT YOUR JOB AND STARTED YOUR OWN BUSINESS. YOU NEVER WANTED TO WORK FOR ANYONE?
I worked for Sasol as an Engineer for 10 years. I also worked for Total SA for 2 years. I always wanted to have my own business since I joined the corporate world. I wanted to bring a change through quality service, job opportunities, etc. This was my childhood dream, but was also propelled when I saw the errors and opportunities in the industry.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS? (WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO, YOUR STAFF, FUTURE PLANS, ETC?)
Tegmul Petroleum Services (Pty) Ltd is an Engineering company focused on the petrochemical industry. We are doing Fuel Service Stations (green fields projects, refurbishments, rehabilitations and maintenance). We have build one brand new Total Service station. We have re-done more than 10 Total Service stations in different provinces in SA. We have secured contracts in 4 different Total mines.
We have a staff of 28 permanent employees, 10 fixed-term contract employees, and 7 casual employees. Our staff consists of largely youth and previously disadvantaged groups.
We are 3 years old, yet a very competitive company in our sector. Our plan is to be a one-stop service provider in our industry.
TELL US MORE ABOUT SOME OF THE INTERESTING PROJECTS THAT YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
a) Our first project in our first few months of existence was a brand new service station. We completed this in record time with an outstanding level of quality.
c) Our second most interesting project was the 33m gantry bridge of 11m high at Shell Rockys Drift (Nelspruit).
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF AN ENTREPRENEUR?
a) Know what you want and go for it against all odds.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF BEING YOUR OWN BOSS? AND THE WORST?
The best part is: the fulfillment of seeing your own dream coming into reality, to be financially independent and to sign a project hand over document.
The worst part is: firing people who are the only bread winners because they deserved it, to be betrayed by the employees you trusted the most, to face the client when you have failed to meet their requirements.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST RISK YOU’VE EVER TAKEN?
Walking out of my formal employment for what could have failed. Taking on a big project for a first project. If failed, it would shut all the doors that were emerging.
WHAT IS YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF YOUR DAYS AS A STUDENT?
I realised after I left TUT that those were my best days – from being involved in boys dramas only to realise that there is an important test the following day and very little time to study and ending up not sleeping at all. Also best days when results are coming out and realising that you actually passed all the subjects.
WHICH OF THE SKILLS YOU LEARNT AT TUT ARE YOU CURRENTLY USING IN YOUR DAILY JOB?
As a Mechanical Engineering student, doing 7 subjects per semester, I learned to work hard continuously. I was obsessed about problem-solving techniques using proven methods in my study groups when doing assignments etc. This helps me with my daily duties, with my projects, and with training new staff members.
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bizana (EC)
QUALIFICATIONS: ND Mechanical Eng.
CURRENT POSITION AND WHAT THE ROLE ENTAILS: Founder & Managing Director Tegmul Petroleum Services (Pty) Ltd
Bursary and Scholarship Fund reaches out to financially needy students
The escalating cost of higher education in South Africa cannot become a source of exclusion for the poor and vulnerable. With this in mind, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) launched a novel Bursary and Scholarship Fund, specifically aimed at alleviating insufficient funding available for students to access and complete their studies.
Due to an annual shortfall in National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding for undergraduate students at TUT, the University has no other option than to turn to Government for additional funding every year.
This is no longer sustainable and, therefore, it wholeheartedly accepts Government’s challenge for it to bolster third-stream income.
HIGH DROPOUT RATE
Despite a huge increase in NSFAS funding to address the funding deficit, research indicates that insufficient funding remains the primary driver of the high dropout rate.
TUT engaged in two in-house research studies (in 2007 and 2009) to determine the reasons behind the high dropout rate. These studies also identified other obstacles such as insufficient funding for accommodation, study materials, food/meals and transport.
NSFAS IN PERSPECTIVE
TUT is the biggest recipient of NSFAS funding. In 2015, the University received R550 million for allocation.
Annually, TUT has between 18 000 and 20 000 students qualifying for NSFAS support.
The majority of these students are returning students (approximately 15 000) and the rest first-years (roughly 5 000).
In 2014, TUT managed to support 18 720 students with NSFAS funding. In order to assist all qualifying students, TUT needed a further R76 million.
The focus remains on supporting returning students. But, it places enormous challenges on NSFAS allocations by limiting support for new entering students.
Thus, the University had to channel earmarked funding for merit bursaries and other available funds to the NSFAS qualifying students. This is simply not maintainable. It is believed that the Bursary and Scholarship Fund can over time assist in alleviating the acute student finance deficit.
In view of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET’s) benchmark for the University to enrol 65 000 students annually by 2019, TUT aims to assist approximately 7 000 students in 2016.
TEL: 012 382 5346/5700