“It is our duty as the University’s alumni to collaborate and engage in forums to see how students can be assisted to open and sustain their own businesses, and how the University can participate in uplifting communities,” he says. “The only hope for this country lies in entrepreneurship, and younger black people like me need to be groomed to be active participants of the economy so we can give back to the University.”
Mhlanga attended the recent Alumni Networking event of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences in Johannesburg, which provided a platform for alumni of the faculty to exchange ideas and make connections.
Mhlanga lost both his parents at the age of seven and was raised in a family of eight by his single grandmother and adopted family in Mbombela. After matriculating from Suikerland Secondary School he enrolled at UWC, armed only with money he had saved from waitron jobs he did at high school.
While on campus, Mhlanga was employed as a first-year tutor in his second year and subsequently as a Tutor Coordinator in the Department of Information Systems. Among the University co-curricula programmes that he feels groomed him were the Peer Mentoring Programme, volunteering at the Gender Equity Unit and serving on the Cecil Esau House Committee.
“All the visions I had for my University life were realised as I continued to stretch my hands and grabbed all the opportunities afforded to me by the University.”
Mhlanga believes that having come from an impoverished background, it was imperative to excel academically while uplifting others. This conviction led to his election to the Student Representative Council (SRC) in 2014, where he served as a recreational and cultural officer and as the Treasurer in 2015.
In 2015 he graduated with his BCom and followed that with his honours degree at another university. Mhlanga is now a Junior Project Manager at PSG Wealth.
He says, “When I reflect on my student life, I can positively say that grit, consistency and resilience were my strategy to ensure that I not only graduated but set an example to others.”