29 June 2022

Four TUT alumni honoured as Sunday World’s Unsung Heroes

by Phaphama Tshisikhawe

Four Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Alumni successfully made it to the highly contested 2022 list of Sunday World’s Unsung Heroes. The campaign recognises and celebrates South African youth who continuously and vigorously pursue their goals and row against the tide to change the lives of others. 

Mbali Mavunda.

Mbali Mavunda (29), Alumna of the Journalism Department was honoured in the Youth in Academia and Education Category. Two months ago Mavundla published a ground-breaking road safety book aimed at learners, proving that writing remains a powerful tool of disseminating knowledge. Although the Kids on The Road Junior Driving Manual is primarily aimed at learners between Grade R and Grade 7, it is applicable to high school and ABET curricula as well. The idea is to familiarise learners from a young age on the ins and outs of road safety rules. The benefits are twofold: they will use the road more carefully and it will make it easier for them to remember the rules of the road when they eventually go for their driver’s licenses. “Enforcing formal education in the process of obtaining a driver’s licence and making this book part of the curriculum, would mean we have skilled and knowledgeable motorists on our roads who are conscientious at a primary school age already,” said Mavundla. 

Omolemo Molaso.

Omolemo Molaso (23), who recently graduated cum laude with a National Diploma in Economics Management and Analysis, was also honoured in the Youth in Academia and Education Category. Molaso’s visual disability makes her academic achievement even more remarkable. Molaso, who hails from Batlharos, Northern Cape, was born with high myopia and amblyopia, a condition that affects vision and causes blindness. However, she has no intention of allowing her disability to hold her back, nor to define her. At TUT she really applied herself during her studies. “I was always at the library during my entire first year. Everyone knew me as the library girl,” said Molaso. 

“Due to Covid-19, I would use the disability lab and even go to the auditoriums to study.” 

Surrounding herself with the right friends and never being afraid to ask for help also contributed to her success. At the disability lab she became friends with Ivy Morulane, who “encouraged me to work harder and affirmed that I could achieve whatever I put my mind to.” 

Molaso is currently studying for an Advanced Diploma in Financial Management (CFA), while she is also enrolled in a learnership. Her ultimate goal, though, is to study towards a PhD degree and become a fully-fledged economist in future.

Kabelo John Chabalala.

Kabelo John Chabalala (31), Alumnus from the Department of Journalism is a humanitarian with a big heart for his community. He was honoured in the Community Youth Heroes Category. In 2016, he founded the Young Men’s Movement (YMM) to help boys from his village of Pankop, Mpumalanga, and nearby communities, live responsible lives by avoiding violent and entitled behaviour. Chabalala, a freelance writer, uses dialogues and debates to further the aims of his organisation. In a country grappling with high incidents of gender-based violence (GBV), YMM is a beacon of hope. 

“As a communicator, I realised that one of the things boys and men struggle with, is expressing our feelings,” he explained. “I realised that my personality and professional skills are a brilliant combination to help boys to talk about their challenges, dreams and aspirations.” 

Chabalala facilitates mentorship programmes at his home, during which social issues like GBV, teenage pregnancy, mental wellness, doing chores at home, careers and dating, among others, are discussed. 

“Today my community is thankful for the work we do to ensure the streets don’t consume our boys and lead them astray,” he added.

Prof Witness Maluleke.

Prof Witness Maluleke (35), Alumnus of the Department of Safety and Security Management was honoured in the Youth in Academia and Education Category. In 1992, when Prof Maluleke was six years old, his father, a police officer, was killed during unrest in Katlehong, South-East of Johannesburg. The incident influenced him to study policing at TUT, receiving a Doctor Technologiae: Policing degree in 2016. 

Prof Maluleke, a qualitative rural criminology/stock theft researcher, is a senior lecturer at the University of Limpopo (UL), in Polokwane, at the Department of Criminology and Criminal justice. “I prepare my students to solve real-life problems,” said Maluleke. 

Prof Maluleke, born at Xikukwani village, Giyani, Limpopo, has supervised 11 Master’s as well as two Doctorate candidates in the fields of Criminology, Forensic Studies Discipline and Policing. To fulfil his ultimate goal of “restoring the love for education in young people from South Africa’s rural areas”, the academic launched the biennial Hlayani Excellence Awards of Learners (HEAL) in 2017 at his alma mater, Mashengani Primary School. During the event the three best Grade 7 learners were chosen and awarded certificates and medals for their excellent school work.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711   Email: tshisikhawerpt@tut.ac.za