“I have always been interested in being part of a higher learning institution because of the contribution that one can make towards skilling youth,” says conference and events specialist Beaula Tshabalala, who tells us more about her professional and personal roles.
Where did you work prior to joining UP?
My experience is centred on the diversity of people; I enjoy learning about different cultural backgrounds and innovative ways of conceptualising an event. I was involved in two of the largest football tournaments in Africa in 2012 and 2014 under the Confederation of African Football’s Local Organising Committee within the Events, Security and Risk Management divisions. The mandate of the committee was to deliver the African Cup of Nations 2013 and African Nations Championship 2014. The skills I acquired in this time played a fundamental role in me obtaining my National Diploma in Events Management and BTech in Project Management.
What attracted you to UP?
I have always been interested in being part of a higher learning institution because of the contribution that one can make towards skilling youth. UP is more of a community; the work environment is supportive, especially to women who are caregivers in their personal capacity.
What does your day-to-day role entail?
Site visits, constant planning for an event and executing multiple, diverse events. My position requires planning on a daily basis so that we can mitigate any challenges at an early stage.
What would you like to improve in your section/department and why?
Change is always uncomfortable, although the growth that follows brings with it an opportunity to build better systems. Future Africa takes a transdisciplinary, Pan-African approach to research and science, and creates awareness through global collaborations. The institution could position itself to further establish partnerships in smaller communities; this would provide an opportunity for brand recognition and make a positive contribution in communities. Also, more endorsement of young researchers would be a driving force in developing and empowering underprivileged communities with skills in science and innovation.
What is your favourite and least favourite parts of the job and why?
From conceptualising an event to implementation, the most important part is making people excited about bringing an event to life. I don’t have a least favourite part, as all the elements that come with my portfolio are opportunities for me to develop my skills. Challenges only strengthen our capacity to learn.
Tell us about the NGO you founded.
My late husband, Leroy Tshabalala, and I founded the Azania and Uhuru (AU) Foundation; we named the organisation after our two daughters. Our mandate is to empower underprivileged communities through skills development and to drive awareness around poverty. We partner with private and public sectors and individuals to invest in youth empowerment. We have recently partnered with a learning centre that focuses on the Montessori philosophy in the foundation phase, with a vision to open another learning centre in a small community.
We have also developed several community projects: #SaveAChild, which involves donating learning materials to children; #FeedTheStreets, through which we prepare food parcels for the homeless; and Early Child Development, to support rural and township early childhood development centres.
What does Mandela Month mean to you?
Mandela Month should be a culture we practise daily. As Nelson Mandela said: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” One of the initiatives we will be taking part in is #AdoptAFamily; we will be handing out clothes to families that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why is volunteerism and the upliftment of people so important to you?
Uplifting others makes me happy and teaches my children the essence of ubuntu. When I was growing up, I was privileged to have a plate of food on the table every day, clothing and the chance to go to school. My mother taught me principles such as “blessed is the hand that gives because it will receive abundantly” and “sharing is caring”. This not only uplifts you as an individual but it means that you are able to see that the little you have goes a long way in changing someone else’s life.
What do you do in your free time?
Being a mother is the role that I embrace most. Other than enjoying spending time with my family, I enjoy being part of community outreach engagements.
You are a semi-finalist in the Mrs South Africa class of 2021/2022. How can colleagues support you in your campaign?
The support of colleagues is humbling and appreciated. Votes contribute towards judging in July 2021, when 25 women will be selected to proceed to the final in November 2021; voters are welcome to vote more than once. They can SMS “Beaula Tshabalala” to 35959 (R3 per SMS); voting lines are open until midnight 31 July 2021.
Colleagues are also welcome to follow my social media pages: Instagram (mrs_bea_tshabs), Facebook (Beaula Tshabalala Mrs South Semi-Finalist 2021) and Twitter (mrs tshabs). I will be driving CSI projects and fundraising activities towards the Mrs SA charity platforms.
Sport: Athletics and boxing
Food: Seafood dishes and any dessert
Movies: I enjoy comedy and romantic movies.
Actor: Boikie Pholo
Music: Anything that lifts my spirit; I am still figuring out who my personal favourite is.
All-time hero: Wonder Woman