by Phaphama Tshisikhawe

Two Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) staff members are among the 200 most promising young South Africans, in 15 various categories of knowledge and enterprises. This list, comprising young South African movers and shakers, below the age of 35, is annually and rigorously compiled by the Mail & Guardian (M&G) newspaper.

“We are excited about the two young TUT Zens who have been selected among other young South Africans on the upward mobile list to watch. Indeed, we are very proud of TUT Zens, Paulina Ngubeni and Dimpho Xaba,” said Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Tinyiko Maluleke.

Paulina Ngubeni (33), winner of the tourism and hospitality category, is a New Generation of Academics Programme (nGap) lecturer at the Faculty of Management Sciences’ Department of Tourism Management. She is a work integrated learning (WIL) coordinator responsible for placing and monitoring students for experiential learning. Under the guidance of Ngubeni, students who benefit from WIL can address industry challenges through entrepreneurship, since it offers a unique platform to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Ngubeni is also a Haaga-Helia University’s School of Applied Sciences and Vocational Teacher Training alumnus.

She holds a Master’s in Tourism and Hospitality Management from the University of Johannesburg and is currently pursuing a PhD. Her research aims at developing a framework for the casino sector that can be used to empower women in host communities using corporate social responsibility spending.

According to her, her biggest motivation is witnessing students with a similar background enrolling in higher learning institutions to set new standards of excellence.

Dimpho Xaba (33) who won the agriculture category is a Faculty of Sciences’ lecturer at the Department of Crop Science, where he develops learning material and teaches vegetable crop production. He also develops materials for short courses. He holds a diploma and BTech in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development.

Xaba is not only a lecturer, he is a farmer whose love for farming developed when he was a boy growing up near Brits in the North West. He established the Thusanang Bakone Group and now farms wheat, maize, soya, potatoes and bees. Xaba is also involved with the Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development (YARD), which promotes the involvement of young people in agriculture.

Further to this, he provides advise to small-scale farmers. A specific achievement Xaba is proud of, is raising funds for undergraduate and postgraduate bursaries, as well as for students doing the work integrated learning programme.

In addition to these two dynamic young TUT Zens, the 2024 M&G list also contains five TUT alumni, Refiloe Jane (31), Hilda Magaia (29), Azaria Khoza (31), Tsego Molefi (31) and Ofentse Melato-Dube (34).

TUT Zens who have been selected among other young South Africans to the M&G 200 most promising young South Africans,  Paulina Ngubeni (right) and Dimpho Xaba (left)

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