Ms Tsakani Nyoni is an Associate Analyst at University Impact (UI) and is pursuing a Masters degree in the Department of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Heritage Studies at the University of Venda. She has been working for the firm for the past 11 months and was offered an opportunity to work from the company’s U.S based office for six weeks. University Impact trains students who have an interest in making a social impact and learning about impact investing. Ms Tsakani identifies herself as an individual who is passionate about social entrepreneurship. She has, in the past pursued this passion through her volunteer work at UNIVEN’s Community Engagement Office.

Ms Tsakani Nyoni – Masters degree student – Department of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Heritage Studies – University of Venda

She describes her time with University Impact as ‘life changing’ because it has transformed her view of life and her approach to her research – how she could maximise impact, contribute to addressing challenges in her area of study and share her knowledge with those around her. “I am grateful for the knowledge and experience that I have gathered during my time in the U.S, and I’m really excited to share that with my circle of friends/peers in our campus,” she said.

Tsakani shared six key lessons that stood out for her during her time when working from UI’s office as follows: i) Always sell yourself. ii) Leveraging every opportunity to your advantage. iii) Finding the gift in every feedback you receive. iv) To always go beyond your comfort zone. v) Maintaining a growth mindset throughout your life. vi) and the importance of acquiring skills that set you apart from your peers.

Ms Nyoni mentioned that all these lessons are the foundation of her learning and growth. She also acknowledges that sometimes it may be hard to find the benefit in every feedback that one receives, and it is sometimes easier to remain in a comfort zone. But there is always something to learn about ourselves and life when we reach beyond our comfort zone.

During her time in the U.S, Ms Nyoni also interviewed 36 students (from both South Africa and the United States’ Universities) for University Impact’s upcoming Impact Investing Bootcamp. She views this as another opportunity that has contributed to her learning/expanding her skills and she looks forward to coordinating the two week-long Bootcamp in a few weeks.

Ms Nyoni shared that one of her most exciting experiences was having lunch with Representative John Curtis, who is one of the U.S leaders. Meeting social entrepreneurs and learning about how they approach different problems around their communities. “There were different lessons that I gathered after meeting these entrepreneurs, but the biggest one was that we are all capable of being innovative in our thinking, we just need to believe in our ideas and work harder on their execution”. She is also proud that she has been to two states in America (Utah and Idaho) and hopes to add more to the list.

Ms Nyoni extended her gratitude to her family, Professor Vhonani Netshandama, Dr Robert Martin, Joellen Nicholson and Daniel Blake (University Impact team) for making it all possible. “They have all encouraged me to work hard, take each day as an opportunity to learn something new and tapping into my potential as a social entrepreneur. I am also grateful to the U.S Consulate Cape Town for sponsoring mytrip”, she added.

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 11 August 2022

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