(Published - 13 November 2019)
Students are often not sure how to take their place in the working world, or what they want to do with their lives. But that is not the case with the GradStar Top 100 - students selected from across the country for their workplace readiness. This year, six of those top students came from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) - including Lelethu Nogwavu, who was named one of South Africa’s Top 10 Finest Students during the GradStar Awards.
“Making Gradstar top 10 literally blew my mind,” Nogwavu says. “I honestly did not expect it at all, but I was certainly very happy about it. It all just goes to show that hard work and passion, and a love of learning, can really pay off - and that there’s more to academic success than just classroom competence.”
The GradStar programme - sponsored by Absa, DHL, Epiroc and Fasken - was set up by BlackBark Productions, and matches the country’s best future graduates with potential employers and business mentors.
Nogwavu is very passionate about Africa in particular, and its progress and development.
“I feel like there’s a reason I was born here and in this particular time,” she says. “A time when Africa and the world are crying out for good leaders who are going to lead us out of the challenges we are currently faced with. I realise that I have a duty to contribute in this and play a role in the development of this beautiful continent of ours.”
. Here are the other UWC superstars who made the GradStar Top 100 (click on their names for more information).
Bachelor of Commerce - Economics, Finance and Investment:
Bubbly BCom student and budding entrepreneur, Ronny Esau, loved working with numbers from a very young age. In high school she sold sweets. At UWC, she started her own business as a nail technician - while making the Dean’s Merit List three years in a row. “Of course, I see myself as the youngest ‘coloured’ female Fortune 500 CEO in the world,” she says. “But I’d also like to leave a legacy behind.”
While completing his Masters in Gendered Ethics and Psychology at UWC, he has worked as a facilitator at e-learning, a tutor for both ethics and psychology, and an examination invigilator. He is also a published author. “Growing up in George and facing financial constraints, I knew I had to take pride in my work, put in the effort to attain a bursary so that I could further my future and career, and also find the right balance in life,” he says. “Those time management skills have served me well.”
As a young girl growing up in rural Mthata, Yolanda Bam wanted to have a skincare clinic and hair salon, and also to study law. Amazingly, she’s achieved both goals, running her own spa and hair salon for years as a working mother before joining UWC. She’s since earned her LLB, been an active member of the UWC Moot Society, and helped establish the True Leaders Forum. “I think because I'm older and more responsible, I’m more focused,” she notes “And I can help other students along the way.”
BA - Industrial Psychology and Politics
Raquel Lamour studies hard, plays hard, and tries to find herself along the way. She’s excelled in her self-structured Bachelor of Arts, and continues to grow as a leader by being part of an emerging leadership programme. She was in charge of logistics and technical operations for the AWearSA 2018 fashion show - and she’s a mentor for the current version of the AwearSA fashion show. “I don’t know what path my life will take from here, but I welcome the adventure of finding out.”
Bachelor of Commerce – Accounting
Noluyolo Zanendaba wants to contribute to both the economy and empowerment. As a result, she’s tutoring Financial Accounting, and also serves as an Executive Member of ABSIP, an organisation that focuses on equipping people with financial skills. “I know I’ll be involved in projects to help black and disadvantaged students - especially females. I see myself building a legacy for myself, my siblings and my parents, changing South Africa and passing on the knowledge that I have to the next generation.”