MEET: Nkiti Moses Rakau, Department of Facilities Management

Posted on April 07, 2021

“You must take extra measures to become a prime candidate for your desired position,” says one of UP’s longest-serving senior theatre managers, who tells Tukkievaria about his career and how to add value to the institution.

Affectionately known as “Bra Mos”, Nkiti Moses Rakau has served UP for 40 years at its Aula and Musaion theatres. We learn more about him.

What does your day-to-day role entail?

I inspect the venue before the arrival of the performers and audience to ensure their safety. I also ensure that the venue’s users are familiar with the facility, and explain the occupational health and safety regulations to them. In addition, I keep all the theatre equipment safe after use.

What attracted you to UP?

In the early days, I earned R99 a month. But salary is not the most important factor when it comes to motivating employees – job autonomy, job security and appreciation for the work are all significant. I explored various careers and discovered that institutions of higher learning stand out because they have an infinite stage.

How did you stay focused for 40 years in your career?

I joined the University on 1 February 1981 as a cleaner for the theatre, which I am managing today. To effectively advance your career within an institution, you need to have an excellent work performance record and catch the attention of your seniors. While performance, experience and skills are common requirements for a job promotion in many workplaces, you must take extra measures to become a prime candidate for your desired position. Hard work and minor errors or an error-free performance will help get you there.         

Tell us more about your work background.

I once worked on a farm in Bela-Bela in Limpopo and learnt Afrikaans at school, which is why I got 99% in my interview in 1981. Moreover, most of my seniors were Afrikaans-speaking people. To mention a few, my direct line managers were Jaap Kruger, who resigned from UP at the end of 1981, and Francois “Morg” Jacobs, who I prospered with. Later I continued working with Jannie du Toit and the late Lukas Maree. All of them were also singers. I was promoted to theatre supervisor and an assistant sound and lighting engineer.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Working with a client that comes with their own rules and regulations. I believe an institution’s brand is like a person’s reputation. So it is paramount to avoid conflict.

One remedy is to practise conflict management on the spot: talk to the client politely; focus on behaviour and the event, not on personalities; listen carefully to the client; identify the points of agreement and disagreement; prioritise the areas of conflict; develop a plan to work on each aspect of the disagreement; continuously revisit your plan of the event; and find common ground in an amicable manner.

Do you have any tips on how to mould your current career?
Always remember to add value: learn what the institution wants from you. It stands to reason that the institution wants its employees to contribute to the value of the institution, so making a conscious effort to add value is one of the best ways to get promoted at work. You can increase your value by doing the following: continuously improve your skills to deliver increasingly better results for the institution; expose yourself to a broader range of institutional activities that enable you to broaden your knowledge, skills and experience; and find new opportunities for career growth.

Are there improvements that you would like to see at the theatre?

We would like to improve our theatre technology to take it to the highest level.

What do you do in your free time?

I am called a jack of all trades: I do welding, carpentry, tiling, plumbing, electrical work, even mechanical work on cars.



- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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