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Nontobeko Zondi

Image: Mr Dewald Venter - VUT Tourism Management Lecturer who’s currently completing his PhD has a passion for military heritage tourism.

History is a narration of the events which have happened among mankind, including an account of the rise and fall of nations, as well as of other great changes which have affected the political and social condition of the human race. —John J. Anderson. 1876. A Manual of General History.

Mr Dewald Venter is a Tourism Management Lecturer who is currently completing his PhD. He describes himself as an amateur military historian with a fascination for military history and a passion for tourism. Combining his fascination and passion has led him to publish an article titled "Examining military heritage tourism as a niche tourism market in the South African context”.

Mr Venter says that military history has often underplayed or erased the indigenous narrative which has only until quite recently shown signs of being addressed in South Africa. An example is the SS Mendi which was transporting mostly indigenous South African soldiers to Europe during the First World War when the cargo ship Darro collided with it during thick mist, killing 616 crew and passengers. The sinking of the SS Mendi is commemorated by a number of monuments in South Africa, Britain, France and the Netherlands.

Military heritage encompasses several components which include military museums, battlefields, memorials and monument, events and festivals, re-enactors and re-enactments and private militaria collectors. Mr Venter points out that military heritage tourism can serve as a platform for various groups to engage in and better appreciate the dynamics of globalisation and expansion, thus empower individuals with an understanding of the world they live in.

In South Africa he is the only one focusing on military heritage tourism and aims to encourage people to learn more about military heritage through tourism. He points out that South African tourism is showing remarkable, steady and sustainable growth and lately there is a growing interest in the stories, lives and experiences of those who fought and died during past conflicts.





Thabiso Sechele

Image: Mr Tshepo Sechele (middle) and his grade 4 learners from Ikokobetseng Primary School

Tshepo Sechele, a Vaal University of Technology alumni who is known for his contribution to the 2014 Budget Speech, has gone out to educate the learners in his community.

Mr Sechele is currently running an English Literacy Programme for grade 4’s at Ikokobetseng Primary School in his community, Bophelong – a township based on the outskirts of Vanderbijlpark. He says being a member of the international organisation “YALI”, has inspired him to contribute to the development of the nation. According to research he did, he saw a great need to assist in the education sector. “The Annual National Assessment - 2013 (ANA), reported that only 39% of grade 4 learners can read and comprehend the English language,” said Tshepo. This was evident to him when he started the programme. Learners were taught in their home language and only learned English for an hour during the subject period, which has negatively impacted the learners’ performance in tests and exams.

Through Tshepo’s programme, the learners have improved, parents have even gone to the school to give thanks for the literacy programme - encouraging its continuation. Another parent said her child had been failing English before the programme started, but passed at the end of the year because of the assistance her child got through the English Literacy Programme.

The English literacy programme piloted in 2016. This year, the programme will start early with the aims of providing even better results. Tshepo wants to have more people supporting this initiative and giving their time to help the learners. The programme is supported by Nal’ibali and Activate (youth development organisation).


Azande Ralephenya

In what’s deemed to be an iconic move that will not only place the Vaal University of Technology’s, Upington Campus on the map, but also aims to boost the local economy by providing jobs and skills through quality training programmes; the VUT Upington Campus’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, is set to launch on 19 April, 2017, boasting a guest list of high profiled names from both local and national government expected to share in this momentous occasion.

The Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) will share premises with the Technology Station (TS) which is strategically situated in the industrial area. The CfE’s model, entails a core offering of a 6 month programme which will include all aspects of entrepreneurship. Upon completion, it is envisaged that the graduates will be assisted in establishing their own businesses which will be fully supported through an incubation programme. Initially, the resources of the TS will be used for this purpose. Mr Anthony Mac Minn, who is the CfE’s newly appointed Business Development Officer says that he’s already approached SEDA to fund a fully-fledged "Rapid Incubator". “Rapid, refers to failing quickly and expediting the developmental process for start-ups. The post CfE phase includes facilitating access to funding and markets. In addition, we also offer specialised and technical training focused on entrepreneurs,” said Anthony.

VUT funded this initiative to set up the Centre for Entrepreneurship in order to address the skills gap in the Northern Cape region, however, the bulk of the funding is from SEDA, as it currently funds 11 other similar models across the country. All, except the one based at Durban University of Technology, are linked to TVET Colleges. A substantial portion of the funds provided in the first financial year is being utilised for the capital expenditure. The remainder of funds (including subsequent financial years) are to be split between operational costs and programme-related expenses.

Contributing to the reduction of local unemployment:

The aim of the CfE in relation to the region and local community, is to not only focus on entrepreneurs, as initially described, but also to create a paradigm shift with students of Upington VUT and NCR TVET College in the sense that they should see entrepreneurship as a career choice. This should contribute to the reduction of local unemployment and the creation of sustainable jobs; on a regional level.

The vision is to replicate this model on a larger scale at the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) planned for roll out in about 18 to 24 months. The CfE team also envisage upscaling this model to tap into the regional agricultural, mining, renewable energy and solar industries.



Selected VUT Softball Players Take Their Game to Canada

Phaladi Phomolo Chepape Nkomori

Top: Phaladi Phomolo Bottom: Chepape Nkomori

Six of the Vaal University of Technology (VUT’s) players from the team that won the National Provincial Championships that took place in Limpopo recently, have been selected to take part in the World Series Cup which is to be held in Saskatoon, Canada from 6-17 July 2017. These players will be representing Softball South Africa at the championship in question. Selected players: Mogau Thupudi, Nkomori Chepape, Sehlabi Molokoane, Phomolo Phaladi, Tebogo Mapheto and Matleng Phasha. The VUT team has been playing for University Sports South Africa (USSA), has won the tournament six times and is still defending champion of the Gauteng Softball Association since 2016. It is the first club to have had such a large number of players selected to play abroad. The trip to Canada has been the most exciting moment for this team which has been waiting anxiously for such an opportunity to avail itself. One of the players, Mogau Thupudi said: “I am honored to be among the selected ones; I have been waiting for this opportunity to come and was happy to grab it with both hands. I can’t wait to compete with other countries and I hope that the scouts will select me to play for their team since the international scouts would be Japan, USA, China and Australia.” For Nkomari Chepape, this is a second chance because he was selected in 2013 to go and play in New Zealand but due to injury, had to be excluded but is now excited to be part of the team going Canada. The team is requests assistance with funding which amounts to R47 000 for each player. Below lies the breakdown of the expenses. Return Flight R25 000 Accommodation and meals R12 000 Visas R3 000 Apparel, including blazers R7 000 For more information, contact Sports Officer Tebogo Mapheto, who is among the selected players: Tel: (016) 950 7645 Fax: 016 950 9763 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Brothers and sisters take a stand against gender-based violence

Brothers and sisters take a stand against gender-based violence

Students Marching peacefully against gender-based violence

A peaceful march against gender-based violence, under the theme: #HandsOffOurFirstYears, took place

on 9th February starting at VUT Residences and ending at the Amphitheatre.

The campaign’s objectives were to show first-year students, particularly females, that there is support

for them in the challenges they face on campus. “Students often come to our student support offices

crying because of abuse they face on campus,” said psychometrist Khali Mbele. Among such issues are

sexual harassment, rape, peer pressure and HIV. Ms Mbele said they wanted to deal with such issues

proactively, hence the march.

Both male and female students participated in the event. “First-year students are unfamiliar with the

environment and it’s our duty to ensure they don’t find themselves in situations they cannot get out of,”

said Denis Mabunda, one of the representatives of Sisters’ Keepers.

“As a movement, we stand for justice for all and personal safety. We also look out for the psychological,

emotional and physical needs of the students and refer to relevant offices. We host pillow talks for

these young women and also supply sanitary towels to them,” said Esther Mosebi, Pastoral Counsellor

at Chapel of Light at the Residences.

Amaze Nkateko, a student who took part in the march, said the campaign was a good idea because most

people are not aware of the issues faced by female students.

The march was deemed a success as students now know where to go for emotional and psychological

support. Organisers advised that “it is okay not to be okay sometimes and when you’re not okay, Chapel

(016) 950 9744 and Student Counselling and Support is there for you”. Visit them at their office P021 or

call them on (016) 950 9244.

Steps to becoming a successful entrepreneur

Selina Rapulane

The Facilitator, Mr Raleshaba Moeng with the upcoming entrepreneurs

The Facilitator, Mr Raleshaba Moeng with the upcoming entrepreneurs

On 8 February, the Innovation Hub, facilitated by Expression Hub, PR Marketing Communication Consultants, held a boot camp for budding entrepreneurs. The one-day workshop taught entrepreneurs how to base their businesses using the Business Model Canvas. They were also trained on how to pitch their ideas to potential investors and apply to have their ideas incubated. The day’s speaker was Mr Raleshaba Moeng, founder of Inspiration, a consultancy geared towards assisting small businesses. He has a background in a broad range of sectors including the public sector, information technology, media and entertainment and entrepreneurship. The agenda of his presentation included an introduction to the world of entrepreneurship, the business model, the Business Model Canvas and the Value Proposition Canvas. He also focused on differentiating between a Business Plan and a Business Model. Learners were excited to be a part of this programme and participated in a number of exercises. “Such programmes groom me to be the person I want to be. I grew up in a science family and since I joined Enactus VUT, I have started seeing things differently. I want to be a businessman who is well equipped,” said Mzwakhe Radebe, a photography student. Learners were given five minutes to make their mark and pitch their ideas to Mr Ogonne Ntwae, Senior Manager: Office of the CEO at the Innovation Hub, who judged the process. Results of those who were awarded an opportunity for incubation will be communicated at a later stage.


Anne Naidu

People often debate on whether entrepreneurs are born or made, but one thing can be disputed about that debate is that, polishing certain skills can help you become a good, confident entrepreneur.

The Vaal University of Technology’s Sasol Entrepreneurship Programme initiative was initiated by Sasol and VUT three years ago with the aim of helping youth from the disadvantaged backgrounds, equipping them with practical skills and knowledge on entrepreneurship and job creators instead of job seekers.

For learners who have a passion to develop their own business and have the drive for entrepreneurship. This opportunity could offer them a once-in-a-lifetime chance to upgrade, upskill and put their new found knowledge to generate profit. This highly sought after programme is for aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-30, who only have a Grade 12 certificate and wish to start up their business. The programme will give the learners a clear indication on how to develop a winning business plan with specific aims and goals that are outcome based for successfully launching of their particular enterprise. There are limited space available and it is incumbent on the applicant to act promptly and register for this exciting development programme. The duration of the full-time programme is eight months and is scheduled to commence on 4 March and end in November 2017.

This entrepreneur development programme is free and is fully funded by the Vaal University of Technology and Sasol. At the end of the programme, learners will have the necessary knowledge and relevant skills on how to start a business, draft a winning business plan and obtain funding.

The selection process will include interviews after which the successful candidates will be chosen. Once accepted for the programme, a registration fee of R150 will apply to continue the programme.

For more information please Contact: Sylvia on 016 930 5038/503 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Applications close on the 24 February 2017.





Qhawekazi Memani

Masingita Marhungani is the newly elected ENACTUS president

Masingita Marhungani, a final year Information Technology student, who hails from Pretoria, joined the Enactus team in May 2015 and took over from previous president Thabo Kakule in August 2016.

“Enactus brings a different calibre and skills set and opens doors for many. I am currently pushing for more communication between the student body and management, with VUT management coming on board and taking us seriously as a structure this year. We want them to see the great potential that students possess,” he said.

“To the students, I would like to say that as much as you come to VUT to study, we live in a day and age where good academic results are not enough to secure a job. If you join the Enactus team in your first year, by the time you leave university you will already have on record three years’ work experience. Not only will you be equipped with good communication and people skills, you will also be equipped with entrepreneurial skills and be able to work in a team. Enactus provides a platform where you can nurture your talents and foster those talents further,” he added.

The Enactus team made the VUT community proud in 2016 by winning first place in the MTN SA Foundation: ICT Challenge, first place in the Harmony Gold Business Solutions for Community Development and an Enactus Award for Entrepreneurial Approach. They are currently working on the projects: Hydro farms, Mama V, Glorganic Smokeless, Patchwork, New Hope, Farm Cove and New Light.

“Enactus is a non-profit organisation that brings together students, academic and business leaders committed to using entrepreneurial action to improve lives.”


Selina Rapulane

Green jobs are simply those in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development, administration and service industries that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. This includes jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity by reducing energy, materials, and water consumption through high-efficiency strategies.

Skills for Green Jobs is an initiative between South Africa and Germany to promote alternative energy efficient solutions.

For example, VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park, in collaboration with Pegasus Consulting and Danone SA, are working on a skills for green job project to reduce the energy demands of Danone SA’s milk processing plant.

This year, the team will be giving a feedback presentation at the CSIR Convention Centre on 22 February. This platform will serve to make industry, academics, organisations and parents aware of the type of expertise and skills the students have gained thus far in this project. The staff will also give a presentation of how the project has helped them to establish a foundation to develop an energy unit in the Science Park.

Students will receive participation certificates at the event and the two best students who will be going to Germany in May for further training will be announced.



Azande Ralephenya

Ms Zandile Shabangu is an Educational Psychologist at VUT’s Student Counselling Department

Zandile Shabangu, an Educational Psychologist at VUT’s Student Counselling Department is testament to the fact that one can pursue their passion while working a 9 to 5 job. Not only is she exceptionally qualified in the field of psychology and working with children, she’s a media enthusiast who found ways to merge both passions and make them work for her.

Appearing on SABC 1’s, The Daily Thetha Show, as part of a panel of experts, Zandile shared her thoughts on the topic - “The biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my first year.” This topic resonated with her because she’s the First Year Experience (FYE) coordinator for student counselling at VUT. She enjoys helping people and wants to reach and help positively influence as many minds as she can through her work. Taking part in debates and the exchange of ideas and opinions is what she’s also known for. Not being shy, Zandile enthusiastically shares that she’s often requested to feature on radio programs as a subject matter expert. She’s shared her commentary on YFM, VUT FM and is also a regular commentator on Ligwalagwala FM, she recalls having an on air conversation with KZN’s MEC of Education on a pressing issue concerning education and teachers’ ethics. Zandile has also contributed content for You Magazine and Your Baby magazine, she was a feature writer in True Love Magazine’ s January 2017 issue.

Being exposed in the media is a bridge between her expertise and the public. She notes that not everyone can afford to pay a R900 consultation fee to see a psychologist, however, being on radio and sharing her expertise in publications, affords the public an opportunity to gain free advice.

Running a private practice after hours and during the weekend, Zandile says this is not just a career but a calling for her. Although she initially started working with children, when she joined the VUT team in 2014, she had to adjust and get used to the idea of working with young adults, it’s been a transition which she says was smooth and she’s thoroughly enjoying interacting with the students.

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