This article is the seventh in our series on ‘Real Life Careers’ in which we chat to people about their career and look at the (sometimes unexpected) paths they took to get there. We chatted with Nkululeko Mthembu – a social entrepreneur and innovator. Nkululeko (26) holds a BSc from Wits University.
Nkululeko answered some questions about his experiences in high school and how they impacted his varsity and career choices.
A: English, Afrikaans, Life Orientation, Maths, Science, Biology, Geography.
A: Science, Biology, Geography.
A: They were invaluable. They all covered crucial subject matter which explored the makeup of humanity and the environments around us.
A: Understanding due dates is vital. Also, assignments for learning in school subjects help with the practice of investigation and learning required on topics outside the classroom environment.
A: I would’ve liked more practical projects involving building prototypes. This would have helped with the building and inventive nature of some of the work I do today. I also would do French. I started the course but did not complete it. With my hope of travelling more African countries, French is proving to be a necessity in the francophone countries.
French is proving to be a necessity in the francophone countries.
There are a few general considerations to be made when leaving school and heading into varsity. In this section, Nkululeko reflects upon his choices and his path through his degrees.
A: Yes, exploring entrepreneurship.
A: Yes, a BSc in Construction Management at Wits University.
A: The course was the most diverse – it brought together all schools on campus.
A: Somewhat. While moving away from the built environment, my work involves finding creative and technical solutions.
A: No I have not. I have always had an entrepreneurial bone and did ‘the school thing’ as a formality and backup plan to failed ventures. I have not had to employ the backup plan. I am however toying with the idea of pursuing a PhD, for the titles-sake. It has a nice ring to it.
I did ‘the school thing’ as a formality and backup plan to failed ventures. I have not had to employ the backup plan.
A: Potentially. I am currently studying a short course in Mandarin (traditional Chinese).
Nkululeko now answers some questions that are specific to his current career. This gives us insight into some of the realities of being an entrepreneur and where he directs his energy with The Durban Innovation Hub and Open Data Durban.
A: Designing programmes in social entrepreneurship and innovation by helping people and organisations understand the need to innovate. I also help them build systems and processes to finding creative solutions to everyday problems.
A: The world is always changing, and one should rather pursue a difficult course in school to test oneself. The grit, determination and positive outlook it requires will build positively in your pursuits later in life because one would have learned the culture of curiosity.
The reality of innovating is not knowing what the future holds, or how humans interact with the world they live in. So one is always in the business of uncertainty. This is the grey cloud and the thrill.
The world is always changing. The reality of innovating is not knowing what the future holds. So one is always in the business of uncertainty.
Keep an eye out for the next post in our ‘Real Life Careers’ series.
I have watched the development of AL.com for years and marveled at the ingenuity and passion shown from the start. As a Linguistics major, university lecturer and burgeoning copywriter, the Advantage Learn story is one close to my heart. I hope to add to the development of educational thinking in South Africa by helping to relate topics and create spaces for thought on the challenges and opportunities facing South African learners, students, and parents.
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