By: Themba Nyovane – 22 September 2023
Recently, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) Community Engagement Department joined forces with 4D Health and Umvuzo Health services to host the ‘SECHABA BUANG’ dialogue at the Centre for Academic Development (CAD) auditorium.
The event featured engaging panel discussions addressing pivotal topics within professional environments. These discussions provided a platform for experts and stakeholders to share their expertise and perspectives on significant subjects such as Mental Health, Financial Literacy, Legal Guidance, and Family Dynamics and Relationships.
In welcoming the participants, Mr Joseph Hadebe, the Acting Director of Community Engagement (CE) at VUT, said: “The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic marked a profound shift in our lives, transforming what once seemed momentary into the new normal. However, this experience serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of adaptability, resilience, and financial preparedness, and the well-being of our families. Today, we convene as a collective to confront these challenges and seek expert solutions to mend the fissures of the past,” he remarked. He emphasized that these discussions not only furnish valuable insights but also cultivate a supportive and informed environment conducive to the success and happiness of students, faculty, and staff.
Fikile Makwe from Sedibeng District Health highlighted the critical significance of mental health, particularly in academic and professional settings where stress and pressure can be prevalent. She advocated that such discussions could help dismantle stigma, encourage self-care, and offered resources for those grappling with mental health issues. Additionally, she highlighted the value of self-awareness in enhancing communication, decision-making, and relationships.
Sister Mallwase Mnomiya from the VUT Clinic, encouraged reminded both the students and staff as to how critical it is for one, to own up to their own health and necessity of one taking responsibility of their conditions and statutes- that the Prep Program is readily available at the VUT -Clinic and the VUT Community should freely make use of the services offered
Speaking on financial literacy Mr Aubrey Monare who is an Old Mutual financial education expert said: “Financial literacy is a cornerstone life skill. He was highlighting that responsible money management not only leads to financial freedom and stability but also safeguards against financial stress and crises. Furthermore, he urged the attendees to be mindful of their financial transactions, to be cognizant of their spending habits, and to make informed choices.
Bethuel Pusetso Mokoena, a proponent of family dynamics and relationships, a community builder, social activist, and a dedicated social worker at the Gauteng Department of Social Development, shared with the audience the pivotal role that healthy family connections play in fostering individual and communal well-being. He emphasized that these connections are instrumental in weaving the social fabric of communities, nurturing a sense of belonging and unity among residents.
Addressing issues like domestic violence, marriage, substance abuse, and child neglect can profoundly impact families and communities. Mokoena emphasized the importance of providing a safety net, stating that: “We stand by vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and individuals facing difficult circumstances. We work to connect them with the resources and services they may require.”
For more information or assistance regarding mental health, contact the SADAG number is 0800 567 567. For financial tips, budgeting, investments and stretching your money further Whatsapp – Old Mutual at 0119668066. The VUT community should freely make use of the services offered at the VUT Clinic, including the Prep- Program.